Things happen 3, June 11th 2013

Apheresis machine UCLH

After a long discussion with my medical team, preceded by multiple blood tests, we decided to proceed with the stem cell collection; a huge relief, as I was also feeling a lot better. The Haemo team think I suffered a strong reaction to the GSCF injections, which would account for nausea and high temperature rather than an infection. This is good, even though the entire process had been extremely unpleasant.

UCLH as you’d expect from a university hospital is a campus spread throughout, Gower, University and other streets. What I didn’t realise is that the different centres are connected up by underground tunnels. It’s all terribly symbolic, wheeled into the underworld by the hospital porter we crossed the Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of lamentation), Phlegethon (river of fire), Styx (river of unbreakable oath), and the Lethe (river of forgetfulness)….well not really we passed under University Street and Huntley Street all very interesting nevertheless.

Surfacing at the Mac (Macmillan centre), I was wheeled into the apheresis ward and prepped for my stem cell collection. Without wishing to get to technical, they hook you up to a large noisy apheresis machine which collects and processes your blood, removing the stem cells and then returning it to you. It took around 3 hours and the minimum collection target is 2 million stem cells. I managed 8.7 million, which is a lot apparently and everyone seemed jolly impressed. The actual process isn’t at all painful but I did suffer a bit of nausea toward the end. The collected stem cells are now stored in the fridge and they’ll be returned to me next Tuesday. Yes momentous news, I have received confirmation that the actual transplant would take place the following week. This is a bit sooner than I expected…I found my stoicism wavering. UCLH also decided to keep me in overnight, just to make sure. I took some paracetamol and managed to get a good nights kip. Here’s the data:

For detailed description of parameters see the Data Methods part of this website

Stoicism: Stiff upper lip: 4

Mood: sad/tearful ≈ 3

Control: No control at all = 1

Discomfort: moderate = 5

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