Neupogen: day 1

I met Rosie and Laurie at the bone & tissue center this morning. First Rosie drew a vile of blood. This vile will be compared to another vile taken on day 5 to make sure my stem cell count has increased to whatever it is that it needs to be. Rosie is, by far, the best vein-finding needle sticker I’ve ever had. I honestly could not feel the jab, and I’ve been jabbed many, many times over the years.

Laurie, who works at the Austin Cancer Center gave me the two Neupogen injections after a quick medical work-up. I learned that they can’t give over 1 cc in one shot, hence the two injections. Both of them right into my tricep – where I’m aching the most these days.

We sat there and chatted for 10 minutes or so. They needed to observe me to make sure I didn’t have an allergic reaction to the Neupogen. I was reminded, and had explained to me in normal folk terms, why I was donating stem cells instead of bone marrow. Peripheral blood stem cells are “blank” cells. They’re really nothing until they’re needed. They can become red cells, white cells or platelets whenever the body tells itself to create more. The patient’s bone marrow has been in the process of being wiped out with chemotherapy and radiation since last Wednesday. My stem cells will be be transplanted to him next Thursday and will (hopefully) form into all of the healthy blood cells that he needs to survive and to rebuild his bone marrow.

Since he and I have identical DNA (kind of scary), this should and hopefully will work. A couple of things that we are concerned about is graft-versus-host disease. This disease occurs when the patient’s body recognizes the foreign cells from a transplant and rejects them. Also, since his marrow is being killed off, he has no way of fighting infections and his blood won’t clot should he get cut.

Neupogen injections every day at 1 p.m. until Wednesday. Thursday is the harvest!

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