Tuesday, November 10, 2015


To get to the transplant stage, your cancer needs to be in control. Not necessarily completely gone, but close. Wipeout chemo will do the rest. Worst.ever. Exhausts, debilitates. Takes you to the brink. When your body is "clean," your cells are harvested. Frozen. Saved. Several days later, bombardier chemo again. Short wait. Your cells are returned. Hospitalization for a month or until your levels return. Complications interrupted and extended the time frame three months because of surgeries to save my finger. Since you cannot receive chemo with an open wound, we had to wait for a nail to regrow.

I remember during the harvest chemo thinking this is what dying must feel like. I am not afraid of death; I grew up in a funeral home around the corner from a beautiful historic cemetery. So I'm not skittish about such things. But this chemo does take you to the edge. Then brings you back. To go through this chemo again in 8 days, after 2.5 years of chemo before--not sure I would have made it. But the delays for surgery were as lifesaving as getting my transplant.
Without a doubt, I would do this again. May even have to. Your transplant statistically should "work" for five years. Most last for life. At my age, I may not ever need that second batch they harvested (they always pull enough for two transplants in case the first doesn't "take"). But if need be, I'm game. After all, it saved my life and I am very grateful.
‪#‎tblgratitudechallenge‬ ‪#‎stemcelltransplant‬ ‪#‎savingyourlife‬

First image is how they package your cells, in small batches. They are thawed just barely, enough to push through this tubing. I took pictures during the process.

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