Cell count close enough, full speed ahead

Today was a big day in the stem cell transplant process. I received a booster to make my body make more white blood cells Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Today my blood was tested to check the potential harvest count and I was just below the number they prefer. So making this long story short, I had another of the boosters – Neupogen – and a second drug that works hand in hand to really push out the white cells – Mozobil.

The side effects of the Neupogen were mainly bone pain which subsided today. That’s good news/bad news effect that (over-simplified) means Neupogen has done all it can without help. Enter the Mozobil which causes some unpleasant side effects. One of those side effects is hearing the injection costs $15,000.

So tomorrow (Tuesday) they will harvest my stem cells and freeze them. The drug treatment will allow them to harvest enough to do the transplant. The only “if” or “maybe” that remains in that process is whether they can get enough in one day or whether it will take two to collect enough cells.

I’ll save most of the gory description for when it’s over – tomorrow is me in a chair with a needle in each arm. They draw blood, separate the cells from the rest of the blood, and return the remaining blood to my body.

There are some side effects during the process but mostly a little nausea or dizziness and feeling a bit cold.

That’s enough for today. The news point is they will collect enough cells to proceed. That means I’ll start a week of chemo next Monday. I get one day off then my stem cells are returned to my body. That first week after chemo raises the most concern avoiding infections, etc.

About Howard

After most of my career in the newspaper business I joined higher education, working in Public Affairs. I write mostly about value wine. I have now taken early retirement and work part-time in a small boutique, retail wine shop in Indianapolis
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