One day to transplant for me. Current Stem Cell Collection day for André.
Today, as my brother says, is “Le Temps Des Sucres” et tout coule bien. The sap is flowing freely.
Le temps des surcres, let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!
Apheresis (cell separating) machine
André is stuck in a bed all day, with tubes in both arms, one taking the blood out (left arm), putting it through the apheresis machine (stem cell separator) where the stem cells are kept in a bag and the remainder of the blood is pumped back into him (right arm). When you think about it, this is a phenomenal process.
André & Marie-Chantal
He hasn’t slept well last night and neither did I. Perhaps he had the stress of the unknown (one of the needles is pretty big) and I also was thinking about my own process on Friday and what that meant. My brother doing this for me right this minute is mind-blowing. That he would do this for me is amazing, that medically speaking we are at a point that this can be done relatively painless for my brother (not as painful as a bone marrow extraction) and that the process itself might give me a second chance at life.
This brings up a whole new set of existentialist questions. Who am I and who will I be? My DNA will be half his and half mine, I will take over his blood type. In essence, he is giving birth to me and like he says, he didn’t even need an epidural. So will he be my brother-dad? LOL (had to throw this one in). Talk about being linked by birth and by life. Maybe we’ll communicate telepathically? Again, how do I say thanks (I know, I know, hockey tickets will do, according to him.)
Fortunately, I have not been sick with chemo (as I promised myself and my nurses I wouldn’t) therefore still have my strength and good blood counts which is permitting me to be allowed to go see my brother in the next building (connected by a hallway). The nurse during my vitals this morning knew how badly I wanted to be there for my brother and rightly guessed that I was going no matter what the docs and nurses said (I already knew if all was well they’d let me).
André's (soon to be mine) Stem Cells
I will go back shortly to see how my brother is doing, and see how the stem cells are progressing. I’ve introduced myself to them, shook the bag hello, took photos (the only time I’ll ever be able to photograph my brother’s and my stem cells) and try to coach them into what they need to do to make me healthy. They need to learn who is the boss from start. Yes, yes, control issues much?
By the way, the amount of cells in this bag took over 2 hours. Hopefully André will be able to have enough extracted today, otherwise he needs to do it again tomorrow. Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that danish this morning as the quantity of stem cells needed are calculated according to my weight. Somehow I think he’d wish I weight 100 lbs!
I will keep you all updated throughout the day.
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