Stem Cell Collection

Today is the day. This feels big and important.  And maybe a little scary. We’ve been watching Eli’s counts this week to determine the optimal time to collect his stem cells. He will need these for his next phase, which is called high dose/transplant. First we have to get through chemo 4 (next week), surgery (end of July), and chemo 5 (beginning-mid August). Then he will move on to high dose chemotherapy, which will completely wipe out his immune system. He will receive his own stem cells at that time so he can rebuild. It will be intense.

So, today is important. The Bone Marrow Transplant team (BMT) is hoping to collect 3 bags of stem cells total. 1 for the first round of high dose/transplant and 1 bag for his second round. The third bag will be the reserve we PRAY hard they we will never need, because that would be used for a relapse.

His counts were very good today and the team is hopeful the collection can be completed in one day. If not, we collect again tomorrow.

Eli & I have been hanging out in the Day Hospital since 9 am waiting on the lab results. We’ve played Wii and watched part of a movie. He’s not interested in toys today. He has now moved on to crying and screaming, kicking, scratching and yelling that he is hungry. He’s asking me “why can’t I eat?” over and over. And saying he just wants to go home. I want all those things too. He has not been able to eat/drink (this is what they call npo in the medical world) today because his collection will be done under sedation. It’s really hard to keep gently telling him he can’t eat today while providing distractions to get his mind off food. It’s getting very hard to put on the brave face and be strong for him when I’m just as mad as he is. But, we have to do this to get the best possible collection.

Collecting stem cells will take hours. 4 is rare and on the very short end. 6-9 is probably more average. It’s asking a lot of  a 4 year old to sit still and hold a certain position for that long. Plus, his central lines have been “sticky” which potentially  further complicates the collection. So, we all agreed that sedating him will give us the best shotof getting the best collection we can.

He will be connected to a big machine. Blood will be drawn out of one of his lines. The machine will filter out and collect his stem cells. The remaining blood will be filtered back into his body via his other central line. (This is one of the reasons he received a Hichman or CVL instead of a port.)

Today we ask for prayers. We pray that his collection will go smoothly and his body will provide all the stem cells required. We pray for the anesthesiologist, blood center staff who oversee this procedure, and medical team. We pray that Eli will be calm (his anxiety has been kicking in lately). And, as always, we pray that chemo is working and his treatment will heal Eli so that every cell in his body will be free from cancer.

And..please…it’s 12:10 pm. Let’s get this rolling so he doesn’t have to sit here being hungry any longer.

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20 Responses to Stem Cell Collection

  1. Patricia Ostrenga says:

    Our prayers continue for all of you ❤️

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have never met you, nor have I ever met your sweet Eli. But I do pray for him to stay strong. This amazing little boy is a part of you and he is feeding off of your strength. I believe he will win this battle. You got this… never give up.

  3. Rick and Eileen Rakowski says:

    Bless you all during this difficult process..prayers continue for a successful process and that Eli will endure.

  4. Uncle Buckwheat says:

    praying for Eli and all of you! Praying for a smooth and successful stem cell collection. Praying for strength and the peace that surpasses all understanding. The peace of Jesus. Love you guys!

  5. Betsy says:

    Praying hard for you today and every day. Hoping that the collection goes quickly and smoothly and little Eli can get someting to eat soon! God bless you all 🙂

  6. Jen Unger says:

    It will be intense indeed! Yet we are intense in our prayers for Eli, for you and the whole Hansen gang. We wait in hope!

  7. Sue Farrell says:

    You will continue to have prayers from many. I’m so very sorry your family has to endure such pain.

  8. Liz says:

    You are all in my prayers today and everyday. ❤️❤️❤️

  9. Penny says:

    Oh Jamie, My heart aches for you and Eli. I hope all is going well. God is watching over you guys. Our prayers are constant. Love you all very much. Grandma Penny and Penny

  10. Brenda Feucht & Family says:

    There is not a day that goes by that we do not think and pray for all of you. Our pray for today is that those stem cells can be retrieved and harvested for the days to come. We pray that smiles replace anxiety and that our good Lord shine his face upon all of you during this difficult time. You are all super heroes exhibiting nothing less than heroic efforts to get through this. We marvel at your strength, even when you feel you are weak. Hugs to you all.

  11. Mandy says:

    Sending extra prayers and strength to you all today. Love you!

  12. Karen Czajka says:

    God is watching over all of ,Aunt Karen

  13. Patti says:

    So many prayers for Eli, the whole family and medical team. Love to all…Auntie Patti

  14. Bonnie says:

    My heart is breaking for hungry Eli and for you, Jamie, as a mom who is doing all she can for her son but can’t give him the the food he wants. I pray that they’ve started their collection now and you have a chance to catch your breath and breathe. May God be with you, Eli, your family and the team of doctors working to get those stem cells today.

    Love, Bonnie

  15. Stacey Newcomer says:

    Praying now Jamie!! Heavenly Father, I lift Eli up to you today…please remove his hunger pains and any anxiety he is feeling. Please move the process along so that the procedure can get started and be with all the people involved so that it proceeds smoothly, with no hitches. Comfort Jamie as she struggles with not being able to give Eli what he wants. Wrap them both in our loving arms Lord, and fill them with your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7

  16. Anonymous says:

    I continue to pray for all of you, strength, patience, perseverance, peace of mind, and much more. It’s during these moments when I feel God is so far away but in Him all things are possible. Your journey pushes my own faith to new limits. Hugs.

  17. Marge schweitzer says:

    Thinking of you ,& praying all goes well Marge

  18. Rosa M Morrow says:

    Sending so much love and energy! Thinking about you and family all the time. Love you, Rosa

  19. Lisa Donnely says:

    Lots of prayers coming from Iowa for all of you. Keeping you all close to my heart.

  20. Jennifer King says:

    Oh Jamie, it is so hard. I am praying, and hoping they can start soon. What a miserable feeling when you can’t let them eat. That is a really long time for them to get the cells, I am praying for calm and peace! Lots of Love to all of you. -Jenni

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