The Harvest

I got the call on Friday, June 14th to be at the hospital in Portland at 6:30 in the morning to begin harvesting stem cells. The process involves a Red Cross Technician, an intricate machine called the Cobe Spectra, and me lying on a bed for most of six hours. The goal was to harvest 10 million stem cells. Saturday brought in 2.55 million.

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The Cobe Spectra

Sunday was a carbon copy of Saturday, but brought in only 1.94 million cells. I was called back to the hospital Sunday evening for a shot of Plerixafor, a chemical to supercharge my stem cell productivity. Monday brought only 1.94 million, and after another Plerixafor shot, Tuesday brought 1.51. The good news is that they add up to, “Close Enough.”

Me connected to the Spectra

Me connected to the Spectra

The harvest season ended for me with a bag of platelets to be infused into one of those handy tubes hanging out of my chest. There must be something good in platelets because I felt much less exhausted as at the end of the previous days, or maybe it was just knowing this part of the process was over. I was discharged to go home in fragile condition and instructed to avoid activity that could lead to bleeding, internal or external. I wait now for the call to check into the hospital long term, probably sometime next week.

Special thanks again to my cousin, Abraham, for all the great help and support when Diane couldn’t be there.