Friday, June 29, 2012


Well most of all the side effects from the transplant have gone away but I'm still recovering. My hair is coming back very slowly however its coming back blonde almost white. LOL Still off work and going to have to take a little more time off before I can pull through a full 8 hour work day. Thank you again for everyone's support and help while I go through this, I will be sure and update everyone when I start to notice some improvement in strength and sensations.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Sorry I haven't updated the blog in a while I have just been exhausted. I flew back into California on Friday, which was an event in of itself. I have been at the house just resting, and every day gets a little better. The fevers and headaches that were continues are down to just a couple of times a day so hopefully that's a sign that white and red counts are coming back to baseline. I want to thank EVERYONE for their support and continued support in this little adventure I took. First my Father John for all his sacrifice and help, he was with me the entire time several plane flights back and forth to Chicago moving around to different lodgings, and most importantly staying with me every day in the hospital and one bad night! Thank you so much DAD!!!  Love you!!  My family Mother, Grandma, Katie, Teri for her support and countless trips to the airport, and friends also played no small part in this without a support system something this intense would not be possible.  Love you all and  THANK YOU!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last Neupogen Injection- Almost

Strike all that I'm sorry everything is the same except I misunderstood they continue to give me the Neupogen injections until my white cell counts come up no big deal just wanted to edit that.  =)

Well this is defiantly the home run stretch! This morning I was given my last Neupogen injection of the treatment, again this is the drug that is responsible for bringing  my counts back up to a safe level in a timely fashion. So hopefully in a day or two I should see my counts rising and then be able to go home yay!! Sorry for not dressing up for the pic but this was like at 6am this morning.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Post Infusion

A Platelet Bag being hung.
Since the infusion it has been a bit of a roller coaster, each day getting better but still healing. The past week has  consisted of a fever most of  the time headaches on and off and just being very tired. Most of this is due to all  of my counts being low and the whole reboot process. My white blood cell count has been too low to count for several days now and my platelet count has been low enough where they have given me platelet infusions 3 times now. Platelets are responsible for what allows your blood to clot. I have had 2 out of 3 rounds of Neupogen shots which is a completely normal part of the procedure. The Neupogen  is used to speed up my bodies production of white and red blood cells again. Today I was given some more steroids  for the fevers which has helped a lot, it has been a pretty good day so far, hopefully tomorrow will be good too!! Only 3-4 more days to go!!
Two RN's verifying the blood product information.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Post-Infusion Monday Night

         During most of the rest of Monday I felt ok with some slight nausea and some pain in my legs but overall well. However during the night around 1-2am I began to develop a fever and pain in my legs and parts of my hands(where the neuropathy is the worst) This progressed to the point of severe, severe pain in my legs, and ice packs used to keep the fever down. Amy and Dr. Burt came in during the morning to check on my progress, during this time I was told that they have seen this type of reaction in some of the patients. I was also told that the round of steroids and assorted drugs that I would be receiving that afternoon seems to always resolve the problem. However due to the intense leg pain and the inability to be mobile I was given a morphine pump until the nerve pain resided.They also did a couple of lab cultures to make sure an infection wasn't the cause of the fever. Once the pain was under control the fever begin to slowly decrease which also helped things. After the steroids and pain management I began to feel much better through the evening, this was a great relief to both my parents and my self seeing that the night before had been so rough.  

Reinfusion-Transplant Day- Monday

Transplant Day!!!!

            Well this is the day all the hard work long battles with insurance companies, and many trips to Chicago have been for, the reinnfusion of my stem cells back into my blood supply and bone marrow. The team came in about noon and consisted of an RN, Amy Morgan APRN, Dr. Richard Burt MD and a lab tech to defrost the stem cells. The tech comes in with the stems in a cryogenic freezer confirms the paperwork to make sure they are indeed mine and defrost them in some warm water.

Checking to make sure their mine!

Defrosting the stem cells.

    The stem cells were then placed in a special IV pump with everyone closly observing the process. Dr. Burt slowed the rate down due to the fact the I think I said something like I think my head is going to exploded. A big thanks to Amy Morgan for her helping me to breathe and calming me down during this part. After the rate was slowed I felt much better with a little nausea, it took about 30 min for the whole process. A little anticlimactic in comparison to the whole process but still a big day and a happy one.

The red bag are my stem cells

The Right pump has my stem cells.

Dr. Burt monitoring the progress.
Amy reminding me to breath through it.

Happy Dad after infusion!
Happy Amy after I leveled out..

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Return.... Dun Dun Dun!!

           Ok so I am back at Northwestern for my "transplant" phase of procedure. What it basically involves is reintroducing the stem cells they harvested earlier back into my blood stream. To do this several days are needed to get my immune system to a completely neutropenic state meaning killing off all the Neutrophils in my blood stream Neutrphils are what primarily make up a large part of my white blood cell and are responsible for fighting infections. Unfortunately these white blood cells and Neutrophils are also partially responsible for what is attacking my nerve sheath and causing all the damage in the first place. So this week will consist of neutralizing my immune system completely so that they can reintroduce them on the 21st otherwise know as my birthday. They call it your new birthday because the condition of your immune system is so closely to that of a new born child without any pre-programmed immune response.

          Sorry it has been so long since my last update they just started right in on placing the PICC line in my arm and starting the drugs needed to reduce my immune system and stage me for the reintroduction of my stem cells. In addition to the chemo needed to reduce my immune system many other drugs are used to help with the process ranging from things like ATG rabbit antibodies to simple things to help with the nausea. Today was my last day of chemo and for the next two days they will be just giving me antibodies, antibiotics, and assorted buffers while waiting for my immune system completely shutdown. Monday will be that goal date and I am told they will re-infuse all the stem cells they harvested from me previously. Again sorry for the lapse in posting and updating pictures but I am very, very tired and unable to do much, however I will promise to get some pictures out when they re-infuse the stem cells and give an update Monday.    

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stem Cell Harvest Day!!!!

Today was my last Neopogen injection yay, that was a new and different kind of pain I have never felt before.

Shortly after that I went over to the Hospital for a blood test and then into Interventional radiology for the Vas Cath placement.  This line was placed in my jugular vein which is in the neck and then run down into my heart. That procedure is not the funnest thing I could of thought of to do with my day but oh well what can you do.
After that I went to another floor to sit on a plasmaphersis machine for about 3 hours to collect the stem cells and some plasma. I then had to wait for the bag of stem cells to be taken down to the lab and counted. After the count came back good they removed the central line and sent me home.The two bags on my lap are what they collected, the yellowish one is  the stem cells and the dark one is plasma, they will also use the plasma to store the stem cells.  I have a small test on monday then Im going to fly home so this will probably be my last blog until I come back for the transplant were they will turn my immune system off and then give me my stem cells back but more on that later. =)

BY THE WAY  I was required to produce 2 million stem cells for the procedure and I produced about 13.8 million my first time around. I am a stem cell producing stud!!  =)    Here are some pics for your enjoyment.