October 14, 2008

The Harvest

Today began the harvest of my mom's stem cells. Actually, the process started on Friday with shots she has to give herself to build the count of stem cells in her blood. All weekend she was giving herself seven shots a day. The side effects of the shots were not pleasant. They cause bone pain, and general flu-like symptoms.

Friday night we spent the night at my parents' house, as we were participating the next morning in a Cancer Walk. Our team raised $1900 for cancer research! Unfortunately, mom was not up to participating with us. I've always been told that listening to your child cry, being unable to help them, is the worst feeling in the world. I don't think that anyone who says that can have had to endure sitting with their mother and hearing her cry because she is in so much pain, and not be able to do anything about it. I have never hurt so bad as when I knew how much my mom is hurting. I think it's because she's always been so strong. Mom is the one that is always there, always the one who fixes things. I just want to fix it for her, but I know I can't.

Yesterday they installed a central line in her chest. This way with all the blood they will have to take, and all that they need to give her, she won't have to be more of a pincushion than she already has been. That went well. She did develop a fever later in the evening, and they took her back to the hospital. She was given a high dose of antibiotic, and will hopefully be fine.

Today they started actually harvesting cells from her blood to use in her transplant. Her counts are good, so they think that with any luck they could have enough from this week of harvesting. That means that she would go into the hospital to start the chemo on the 21st. And she wouldn't have to go through another round of the painful shots.

Most of my information is coming from texts from my sister, or from reading her blog. It's a lot of phone calls to make every day to keep everyone up to date. So, I'll try updating here, but if you're curious for more information, check out Steph's blog. She's a wealth of knowledge, as she attends most of my mom's doctor appointments with her.

One thing I know is that my mom will require several blood transfusions. It used to be that they asked family to donate directly to use for the patient. While that isn't the case any more, and they use the blood from the American Red Cross, they do ask that as family and friends we make a conscious effort to go donate blood if we are able to. So please, if you want to support my family right now, find out if you are able to donate, and go donate blood.


Em said...

What a wretched thing to go through. I'm so sorry Colleen. Best wishes to you and your family!

The Parker Family said...

If there is anything that we can besides donating blood please let us know. We really appreciate Stephanies and your blog. Its really the only way we get any information! Hugs and kisses to your entire family!