Today I should be getting a 20 minute infusion of melphalan, preceded by 1/2 hour of chewing ice chips. I’ll have ice during and after as well, as a means of trying to avoid mouth sores from the chemo. I’m not sure when we’ll start. I’m supposed to start at 9:00, which is only a few minutes away.
In 30 minutes I’ll be leaving to head up to Duke to start the SCT process. Today I’ll see the doc and have an EKG and some tests. Then I’ll go check in to the housing that’s been arranged for me. I sure wish I lived close enough to do this at home. I’ll write more as soon as I can.
This is a picture of what my skin looks like around the catheter that was placed almost two weeks ago. It’s from the adhesive pulling skin off when I change the dressing. Now I’m using a gauze dressing with paper tape. I hope it heals soon. I really do like the clear dressings better, since there’s less worry about getting it wet or allowing bacteria in. This catheter is placed under my right collarbone. There’s also a tube in my neck that I can feel. If you click on the picture, you can see a bigger version. If things like that make you at all queasy, then please don’t click on it. :)
This is all the stuff that was either being pumped into or out of my Hickman catheter. The bag of yellow stuff is platelets. The red bag contains my stem cells. There was also calcium, saline and other fluids. Normally, I’d have studied the label on every bag, but I don’t know why I didn’t do it this time.
I’m not going to lie. the Neupogen shots can cause bone pain. It’s not pleasant. I have percocet to take, and have had a few today. This bone pain isn’t like anything I’ve felt before, except when I had those 10 days of Neupogen shots before. It’s the result of the crowding of the bone marrow. One nurse told me that this is the kind of pain experienced by some leukiemia patients when their white cells are proliferating out of control.
The apheresis process causes a reduction in platelets, so I’m going to get some before I’m sent home for the day. I’ve never had any blood products before. I just received 2 Tyelnol caplets and one Benedryl caplet. The platelets will be here in about 10 minutes. I’ll take a picture so you can see what they look like.
This will be my last day of apheresis. We’ll end up with just enough stem cells for one transplant, instead of two, which is what we were shooting for. I will have spent 18 hours in the chair and some more hours waiting for lab results.
One thing I noticed yesterday was that the check in procedure is slow. That’s not so bad for people like me, but what about the people who are trying to recover from transplants? Making them wait any amount of time seems inhumane.
This stem cell collection process really makes me tired! I could nap right now.
We shot some video of dressing changes to help me remember all the steps. I can put them on the web if anyone’s interested in seeing them.
Yesterday was my birthday, so I came home to a clean house, and had cake & everything! My sister even brought dinner, part of which I ate. It was good!
When I got to Duke this morning, I was attached to the machine for a second day in a row. Another 6 hours. Boy, is that boring! By the end of the day, I still didn’t have enough stem cells, so I’m going again tomorrow. I hope that will be the last day. I’m tired, so I’ll continue tomorrow.