December 27, 2013 – 11:15am Happy Birthday Tony!

Stem Cell Transplant Day.
The day we’ve been waiting for.  Months and months of waiting for this day.
Humber River Hospital used to say “our job is to get you all ready for transplant day. That’s the goal”.
But, the many hurtles we faced delayed this day.
But it came!

My brother came with me to the hospital.  I was glad to have company for the drive down, as well as during the procedure.  Didn’t think I did, but I did.
They had given him pre-meds about one hour before.  Steroids and benedryl.
Also gave him anti nausea.
The nurse, before they began, explained that he would feel a funny taste in his mouth and a tickle, perhaps making him cough.  So they gave him a breath mint.  She said he might feel tingly and something with his abdominal area.  Tony’s face was so red before.  She said it was the steroids.  I think he was anxious.  We all were.  This took place in his regular hospital bed.  I watched the lab technician who brought it over open the container where it was held frozen.  All that was missing was the music like when you watch futuristic movies.  I just felt like a miracle was about to happen.  It was in a steel framed container about the size of 4″ x 8″ and about 1/2″ thick.  Both the technician and nurse kept checking the code numbers and spelling his name, checking and double checking they had the right patient and right stem cells.  At one point, the technician spelled his name T.O.N.I.  nope……repeat again.  Perhaps they were nervous too.  She took the pouch out of the steel container and put it in a water solution, temperature controlled to thaw out the stem cells.  That took a couple of minutes.  Didn’t take long at all.  You need about 2 million cells in order for this to take effect and Tony had 8 million.  Oh, and they said that Tony would be emitting an odour that smelled like corn.  It had to do with the additives to the collection of cells.  But seeing that his sample was 8 million, he probably didn’t need too much of this solution.  I never did smell the odour during the day. Perhaps that’s why? Don’t know.
Then the technician gave the pouch to the nurse.  Again, they checked the name and codes.  All good.  She hooked him up to the IV and began.  They also said that his blood pressure would drop during this.  And it did.  He started at 153 and after about 2 minutes it had dropped to 133.  She kept taking his blood pressure and temperature.  The giving back of his stem cells took about 4-5 minutes.  He did cough during this and the nurse pointed it out to him.  He did feel the tickle weird feeling in his throat.  She said it was his body reacting to the stem cells going through him.
Cannot believe this day has finally come.

Appetite still good.  Gout is gone.  Nurses say tomorrow or Sunday appetite will diminish.  For now, he is eating and loving food.  As the days pass, his condition will be worse and the effects of chemo will appear. Five more days and he will be at his worst.

He has been so brave and courageous during this entire journey.  So proud of him.
Happy Birthday Tony!