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Day +3

Posted by
20 Feb 2016

On 17th February I received a bag of my sister's shiny, new salmon coloured stem cells

Three days ago, on 17th February I received a bag of my sister's shiny, new salmon coloured stem cells. They are currently swimming around my body while my own stem cells have (hopefully), been destroyed and blood production in my body is ceasing. Then they just need to find their way into my bone marrow and take over. Simple right?

If only it were that simple! 

I'm very lucky that my sister was a 100% match. I only have one sibling so the chances of getting a perfect match were only 25%. When we found out the great news there was a snag, my sister's BMI was too high for her to be considered a donor. She duly joined weight watcher's and lost, not just the 20 lbs required, but 3 stone, in order to be my 100% matched sibling donor. What a star!

After 4 days of injecting herself with GCSF she was ready to harvest her stem cells on Monday last week. Once again, like a true star she rose to the challenge and after 5 hours she had harvested 7.2 million stem cells. Far more than the 4 million stem cells required. 

Meanwhile I was being prepped with chemo to destroy my own stem cells. The first few days weren't too bad, but then three days prior to transplant I was given cyclophosphamide which I reacted really badly too. It made me feel sick and caused me excruciating pain in my face. At that point I became really, really fatigued too. Fortunately I only had to endure two days of it, but then I was given the immunosuppressive drug, cyclosporin, which also made me feel pretty yucky.


So transplant day itself, for me, was pretty anticlimactic. I was exhausted, feeling sick and suffering from headaches. Once the stem cells were in, I just fell asleep.


Things started to improve the following day. It turned out the levels of cyclosporin in my blood were very high, which was probably contributing to me feeling so yucky. I was taken off it for 24 hours and immediately began to improve. My energy levels lifted and the headaches and nausea disappeared. I'm back on it now, but I seem to be coping with it better, and the nasty side effects haven't returned.


It's currently Day +3. I'm now officially neutropenic, but so far I have avoided mucositis and infections. My scalp is sore and itchy so my newly returning hair is going to fall out soon, but I can cope with that. Right now, I feel okay. I know there's a long way to go. I know it's going to get worse before it gets better. But today was good and I feel okay. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

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