I am scheduled to go back to the hospital tomorrow for the second collection of blood stem cells. This should be it for a while. If all goes well, this could be cure for the young man. He may, in the future, need more blood products and that is something I need to consider.
My day started with a breakfast of sorts at about 4:30 AM. My dad picked me up at 5:30 and we made the one hour drive to The James Cancer Hospital. At the Apheresis center they took more blood samples, about 9 vials. The human body has about 6 quarts of blood in it. I think the hospital has about that much from me by now! The nurse then gave me the final shots of Nuepogen and sent me to get something to drink or eat while they waited on the blood tests.
When I returned to the unit they took my vitals and began hooking me up to the machine. In my left arm they placed a stainless steel needle in my arm at the bend. This needle is the exit spot where the blood would exit my body and head toward the machine. Since it is a slightly larger needle I was unable to move that arm for the entire duration.
They then placed another needle in my right arm on the top part of the forearm. This spot is for the blood to return after the stem cells were removed. Surprisingly this poke was worse than the other. The nurse blamed it on my tough skin!
The first two hours laying there weren't too bad. The final hour was a bit more trying as my left arm, the one I couldn't move, felt like it was asleep. There weren't any "pins and needles" just a dull constant ache that worsened when I tried to move my fingers.
After three hours it was time to disconnect me from the machine. This, I must say, was the worst of it all. After that long in the bed my body had begun to heal around the needle sites and as the needles left my arms it felt like burning iron.
So, what did I do for three hours? They have TV's but I brought my Mp3 player and listened to John Eldredge's Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive. It is another great book by Mr. John Eldrege that I'll have to post about some other time.
I was pretty tired after the whole procedure and was happy to get home to the couch and a book and the family. I'll be up again early tomorrow for the final saga of this experience. Please pray for the young man receiving these cells and for his family. Pray for me that I might unite my sufferings with Our Lord's for the salvation of souls.
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