Thursday, 11 June 2009

Harvest Festival

Not that I'll need it because the transplant will be fine of course but in case things go wrong, the doctors will "re-boot" me by injecting my own white blood stem cells back into me, this will of course mean I'm back in the remission state but let's not go there.

In order to get these stem cells, I need to take a course of injections of something called Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor or GCSF. These started today (Thursday) and carry on tomorrow, over the weekend and the last one will be after the first day of harvest (Monday) and the point of the GCSF is to stimulate the excess production of white blood cells so that they can be harvested and given back to me should that be necessary.

Of course there are side-effects but they aren't too bad just ironic that they will mirror to an extent what alerted to the whole problem back in February, namely bone ache as there will be excessive (good) white cells crowding out.

At the hospital before being discharged, I was asked if I wanted to do the injections myself. After picking myself off of the floor after laughing so much (I am better with needles now but still hate it and can't see myself doing it to myself) the option of the local GP and/or district nurse came up and that's indeed what happened today and will be the case over the weekend.

Monday I'll be back at the John Radcliffe over at the National Blood Service for the harvesting to take place. The procedure is identical to the bone marrow donation (not test) process - a needle is put in one arm, the blood extracted and put through a centrifuge that spins out the white cells and the rest of the blood is returned through a needle in the other arm; the exception in my case is that as I have a Hickman line the returned blood will go via that instead. Unfortunately the line can't be used for extraction as it is too soft for that process.

It takes about 3-4 hours to do the extraction and quite a bit of time to set up too, Monday will be a long day then and I'll be back on Tuesday to finish the process. Tuesday I have to finish at 14:30 as I then need to get over to the Churchill for my radiation test dose at 15:00.

I think Wednesday I will be largely in bed!


  1. Hey Chris sounds like you have quite a few long days ahead, hope all goes well. all the best mate ... Andy !

  2. Hello Chris,

    Help me here, I don't quite understand but it certainly sounds like progress. Not a bone marrow donor, but it sounds like via stem cell research there is a method to stimulate white blood cell regeneration?

    Take care of yourself and chat soon!
    Vincent Gaw

  3. Hi Chris, good luck! Still following your blog over my morning coffees. Looking forward to you replying to Vincent's comment - wondering about the procedure you are preparing for. Cheers. Helen W.