Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Stem cells and sweetcorn

Today I received my stem cells back which were taken a few weeks ago. I had to be canulated due to the stem cells being quite thick and gloopy and wouldn't have flowed well down my picc line. The nurse got the canular in in one attempt! Albeit quite painful, but one attempt is better than four! Once I had been canulated, the stem cells arrived, in what can only be described as industrial looking bin (others have said dalek... I like both comparisons). They had been stored in liquid nitrogen and preservative which smelt like sweetcorn. I had my pre-meds which included piriton and anti-sickness. I also had a blood test and pressure test before they started.

The stem cells, which just appear like gloopy blood, had been seperated into five bags and all had to go in with saline to help them flow. The nurse had to stay with my at all times and thaw each bag of cells in a water bath before they could go in. Once melted, they were attached to the canular and allowed to flow. Because of their thickness, they sometimes needed extra help going through. At which point the nurse had to inject more saline to clear the blockage. This was more painful then the actual needle going in, as the saline was literally shoving the thick blood into my veins. Ouch :( This only had to be done twice though. Phew. We arrived at the hospital at 10.30am and left around 4.30. I had to wait around for an hour or so after they were finished to make sure I was ok and that my blood pressure had reduced from pushing the new cells in. It had reduced, although it had been raised earlier during the process.

The whole process was rather exhausting. It took a lot longer than we thought, because it had been seperated into five bags, when they only took one originally. I can't smell the sweetcorn at the moment but could smell it in the hospital. My dad is convinced I smell like sweetcorn. I find it hard to believe. If so, I hope the smell disappears soon!

What happens now is that I just have to wait! There is no more treatment as such. The chemo is finished and I now have my stem cells back. I still have to go to the hospital every day for blood tests, check ups and to be seen by the doctor, but until the point that I get too ill, I'm allowed to still stay in the hotel and do normal things. They say that it takes a couple of days for me to get ill from receiving the stem cells. So now, all I can do is wait!

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