Monday, August 6, 2012

Collecting Stem Cells

Yesterday Esther's ANC was 150, this morning it was 2300. The nurse practitioner called today and said, "Wow, well she's really rolling. Let's catch up." When I spoke to her on Sunday she thought the earliest we'd begin collection would be a week from today. The quiet, restful week I was hoping for is shaping up to not be restful in the sense of a quiet, low key week. That's not where rest comes from anyway, right?

Tomorrow we're headed to Children's to meet with the stem cell collection team. This team is also called BMT for Bone Marrow Transplant. Esther won't have a bone marrow transplant, but the process is similar, so we're in their care for this week. I'll probably call them BMT from now on because that's just easier.

The plan for the week thus far is Tuesday we'll meet with the BMT team for a general assessment, a detailed look at her counts, and she needs a platelet transfusion. There is a timing issue in all of this. This is because stem cells are the most basic cells in the body and will eventually develop into red, white & platelet cells. They need to catch them when there are as many as possible but before they turn into other cells. Tonight we increased her growth factor med to encourage her body to begin to release those cells into her blood stream. They will collect the cells the same way platelets are collected. She will be hooked up to a blood donation machine where they will slowly remove the blood from her body, collect the stem cells, and then put the rest of the blood back into her body. Her stem cells will be know like how super heros freeze things.

Wednesday Esther will have a PIC line placed, and they will screen her blood to see how many stem cells have been released into her bloodstream. If there are enough, we will start collecting on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday & Friday will be collection days as needed. This process can take up to 4 days, but usually a couple is all that is needed.

Esther will be given her stem cells back twice during her treatment. First she will recieve them following her MIBG therapy and then after her high dose chemo.

Be praying for our little one year old friend, Aly. She just had her high dose chemo last week and recieved her stem cells. This is a very dangerous time and I'm sure very stressful for her parents, Jodi & Fuzzy. Thomas is also doing well. He only has two treatments left. I was talking to my sister today and we both were encouraged by Thomas' light at the end of the tunnel.

Time has both been painfully slow and breathtakingly fast. The summer is nearly over, I can't even remember July. The end seems unreachable, but Thomas is nearly there. Aly is close. Esther will be there too.


  1. We will be praying for smooth sailing this week, and refreshment and rest, despite all that is happening. You are precious.

  2. Yes, she will. And you will be there too. Hold on in the storm. And when you can't hold on anymore, we will hold you up and HE never lets go.

  3. We are just behind you! We go to get Taylors collected on Tuesday! If all went according to plan Esther is getting hers done today. Praying all goes well. Such a long sad journey isnt it?