It has taken me a long time to find the courage to sit down and write about the “dash” between the above dates. Before it began, I thought I would write periodically about the hoops I was jumping through during the transplant. However, I could never bring myself to start recording the difficult process. Now, I am ready . . .
Chemo at the U of W
With my immune system dropping, I had daily clinic visits and blood draws and they began giving me neupogen shots in my stomach each day to mobilize my stem cells. Fortunately, the shots were not painful and I didn’t mind them at all. I asked one of the nurses how many days it would take to mobilize and she said it averaged about ten days. My cells were in a hurry! They began harvesting my stem cells (apheresis) on the sixth day. It was a four hour process each day for two days. They drew blood from one side my Hickman line and put it through a centrifuge and collected the stem cells before returning the blood back through the other side of the Hickman line. After the two days, they had collected over 10 million cells (yes, 10 million!) which was enough for two transplants. It was a painless process.
No Hair / Beautiful Hats
I do admit that I got very tired of my bald head and it seemed to take forever for my hair to grow back. However, I have a lifelong family friend who is an expert knitter and she made me several very beautiful hats. One was made of purple angora! I was stylin' in my hats!