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.