Monday, October 30, 2017

Apheresis at Stanford

20171026_164742 (768x1024)We got the word from Stanford on Thursday afternoon to be there early the next morning. The drive from Shingle Springs to Stanford is about 3 hours, up to about 5 hours, if the Bay Area traffic is heavy. Both of us felt like we were a little too tired to make the trip in the evening, 20171025_081129 (768x1024)so we decided to drive down at 3.30 am on Friday morning for our 7am appointment. We had to get there an hour before the appointment so Joyce could give me the required neupogen shot an hour before the appointment. I was a little worried because Joyce doesn’t always do so well in the early morning hours, but she came through this time like an expert chauffeur and nurse. We actually made the drive in about 2 1/2 hours. She gave me the shot in the van and we slept about 45 minutes, on my futon in  the back of the van, in the parking garage at Stanford hospital. We did have to scramble Thursday afternoon to get ready for the trip and were able to do so with some help from my sister (left) and my mom. We also had time to check out Leila’s loose teeth (right).

20171027_105139 (768x1024)We arrived at the apheresis center at 7am for the blood test to make sure I had enough stem cells to proceed. That took about 30 minutes and they turned us loose while we waited for the results. We had a little breakfast at the hospital café, surfed the internet on our phones 20171027_142134 (768x1024)and read the newspaper while we waited. At 10am we got the word to come back because my blood had passed the test. In fact, my stem cell count was very high which promised a good result. So we went right in and got ready to go. First, they hooked me up to the machine. There accessed both tubes on my chest catheter, one to put blood in and one to take it out. The machine was really amazing. My blood would go out to a centrifuge, where it was spun to separate out the stem cells. The stem cells were then collected in a bag (right). The blood then went into a warming tube and was returned to my body. I thought my stem cells looked a little like cream of tomato soup. The process took about 4 1/2 hours and we were done at 3.30pm.

20171027_103328 (768x1024)We then went to our apartment at Stanford and they told us the lab would call with the result. If they got enough stem cells we would be able to go home as soon as we wanted to. Otherwise, we would come back Saturday to collect more cells. That process could extend for up to four days until they got enough stem cells. About 5pm they called us and said that they had collected twice as many stem cells as they needed and we were free to go home. I could also put away the mask until I returned to Stanford for the transplant (except for when I am in hospitals or doctor’s offices) and I was no longer on the anti-microbial diet. They told us to go out and enjoy the evening, so we went to Jack in the Box for celebration tacos. I know a lot of you were praying for my body to generate a lot of stem cells and those prayers were answered with much more than I needed.  We will be resting for the next couple weeks and are getting ourselves ready for what will be the hardest part: the transplant process, which will begin November 9th in the Stanford hospital. After that we anticipate being there in the hospital until at least November 30th. Thank you for praying. We appreciate your prayers as we approach what we hope will be the beginning of the end of cancer treatment and the last big step to being “cancer-free.”

1 comment:

K Ron Routh said...

Praise the living Jesus, who meets and exceeds all our needs. Brother, thank you many times over for you detailed info. Tonight I am blessed that our Living Creator has seen to your every needs through the saints that intercede for you. Whatever the outcome, our living God is good, all the time.
Ron