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Too good to be true…

August 22nd, 2019

Well I cruised through the first 6 days on the stem cell transplant. What’s all the fuss about? HHhhmm….

Let me start with some detail on the actual transplant – as its quite interesting. The cells which were harvested from me a a few weeks ago were returned from the lab. In fact the process took place over 2 days – 6 bags per day. So they arrive in this weird sci fi thing which is essentially a cooler with dry ice keeping the temperature down a long way below zero.

They then need to defrost the bag so that it will flow back into my blood stream. Using a water bath the cells take about 15 minutes to arm up, at which point they are ready for reinfusion.

My stem cells

The process is time consuming and not helped by the fact that the nurse has to manually push the new cells back into me with a syringe – they are a bit lumpy so don’t flow nicely down a catheter. So she sucks them into syringe, flicks the tap at the top and then pushes them into me.

All in all quite interesting and a bit scary if Im honest! So then its all down to waiting. Day zero is the day the stem cells come back which was wed last week. They say the worst is day 5 which was monday. To be honest Ive been almost too fine until late Tuesday this week when things started to go pear shaped. Diahhorea and a total inability to eat doesn’t help. But then last night I got a fever. A fever which is stubbornly refusing to go away.

I sit here now Thursday evening with a bag of ice on my head (really!). Not the most modern plan to lower temp but maybe it works. Despite the fever I feel that things are improving a tiny bit. I managed to hold some food down today – will try again now with a late dinner of a chocolate protein shake and see how it goes!

On reflection the NHS staff are a really nice bunch. Very few of them are English by birth. Nurses seem to be philipino. Cleaners and juniors African. Sisters from Europe and doctors from all over. The activity last night when my temperature crossed the threshold was amazing – tests, cultures, antibiotics and even a chest x-ray! No waiting at 3 in the morning…

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