Stem Cell Harvest!

Dad had his first stem cell harvest today. He was in very good spirits and thinks that it went really well.

They hooked him up to this machine to harvest the cells.

The Stem Cell Machine

From what I understand, they are harvesting immature blood cells hematopoietic stem cells in the circulating blood. These are apparently similar to those in the bone marrow that would have been from a potential donor. In the past, the stem cells were collected directly from bone marrow which required a serious surgery with anesthesia. YIKES! Not any more! They are collected through a process called apheresis.

Basically blood is removed through a needle in a vein (kind of like a blood transfusion). This was weird for mom and dad because they were so used to seeing blood added, not taken out! The machine removes the stem cells from the blood. . It usually takes several sessions to get enough stem cells. Dad is hoping that it will not take more than two because his blood count was high before he went in. So hopefully that gives them a lot of the cells!

The stem cells are then frozen and stored until the chemo. Then the cells will them be administered intravenously after treatment and hopefully make happy healthy cells to replace the bad cells the chemo killed.

Mom sent me a lovely photo of the brochure they gave her. She thought it was funny.

Photo from Stem Cell Brochure

And my favorite is this one of Dad, all tucked into the hospital bed. He said “Now I know what they mean by snug as a bug!!!!”

Dad is snug as a bug

Light the Night

So, Light the Night is on Thursday here in Boston. I’m kind of excited because the idea of walking around the Boston Common with a lamp balloon is kind of fun.

For more information about the walk and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society please visit my page at http://pages.lightthenight.org/ma/BostonL12/CGourley . I also highly encourage other people to participate in their town – they have them all over the US.  :)

Janet Glasgow

Our family’s condolences go out to the family of Janet Glasgow. We are keeping you all in our prayers. For more information on Janet’s journey, please visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/janetglasgow.