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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Harvest Day 2

Yup, I was back at DFCI today for Day 2 of stem cell collection.  Yesterday, they collected 6.4 million stem cells, which is already enough for 3 transplants, but I guess they're greedy and want the full 10 million.  So be it.  The guy next to me, Tom, was also here yesterday, but they only collected 4.2 million stem cells from him, so I guess my Neupogen shots must have worked after all.

Usually when I check in, I just use my DFCI ID card, but here they also ask for a picture ID.  I was a bit puzzled by this, but I guess they want to make damn sure that they are collecting stem cells from the same patient they are going to give them back to.  Otherwise, it could be pretty ugly.  On second thought, how could anyone let that happen?

Here is a picture of the apheresis machine that was circulating my blood and collecting my stem cells.  It is quite an engineering marvel, consisting of electronics, pumps, centrifuges, and lots of plumbing.  My stem cells that were being collected are in the bag in the upper right.

Today they got started earlier, because they didn't have to wait for all the blood tests to come back.  I managed to leave DFCI by 2:00, thereby beating the rush hour traffic home.

I found out that I needed to get the full 10 million stem cells collected today, or Dr. Richardson would make me come back again tomorrow!  That sure would suck.  My blood test numbers were lower today, meaning that they wouldn't be able to collect as many as they did yesterday.  I have been on pins and needles since I got home waiting for the phone call as to whether I met the target.  It's almost 9:00 now and I haven't heard anything, so I assume I'm safe.  If not, I'll update this post to let you know.  Maybe I'll just turn off all my phones and go to bed.

Here is a brief summary of my clinical history to date.  After being diagnosed with ISS Stage 1 MM at DFCI, I embarked on a clinical trial with MLN9708 to replace the VRD regimen.   I received the MTD dose of 5.8 mg based on my BSA.  Despite my high-risk t(4;14) status from FISH, I quickly achieved VGPR and then CR based on SPEP results without any PN side effects.  I am about to receive an ASCT at BWH, hopefully avoiding TRM.  Absence of MRD in followup tests  would mean a good prognosis for extended PFS and OS.

If you understood anything from the previous paragraph, you obviously have been spending far too much time reading my blog.  Sorry for the TLAs, but I couldn't help myself.  ;-)

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