Hi! Long time no blog, but it's harvest season on the Conway farm, and I've been working on making this year's crop the best yet. What's this year's crop, you ask? Why, my very own stem cells. As you may know, part of the kidney transplant study my mom and I are in involves a stem cell transplant. The crux of the study is that if my stem cells are given to my mother before and during surgery, it will allow her body to accept the organ better and consequently, anti-rejection drugs won't be necessary.

After four days of Neupogen injections administered at the Stanford Cancer Center (to make all my white blood cells super excited and bustin' out at the seams), this morning I woke up at the crack of dawn to attend my first apheresis session. They mentioned the possibility of "bone pain" when I began the Neupogen last week. I was like, "Yeah, right. It'll be fine."

I am now well-versed in the nuances of bone pain. It is creepy and unpleasant, just like it sounds.

When I got to the apheresis center (a little room filled with insane machines), they immediately gave me Ativan to decrease the chances of me spazzing out. After all these tests, I still can't be trusted not to get woozy around needles. It helped, but the process of sitting in a chair for 3.5 hours, iv in each arm, was pretty exhausting.

Also, apparently I was supposed to eat beforehand, but I spaced, so I ended up almost puking, which, if you know me, is the worst possible event. Luckily, I did not do the deed, thanks to a bunch of swiftly produced saltines and a can of orange juice.

The nurse prescribed a milkshake afterwards, so Peter (my ride and the love of my life) and I went to the Stanford Mall, where I got a delicious $8 coffee milkshake and the best Reuben ever. Then I came home and slept all day. I would definitely say that this is the most unpleasant part of the donation process so far, but it wasn't terrible. But maybe I'm just psyching myself up for tomorrow, when I get to do it all over again! The harvest is never easy, but hopefully some rewards will be reaped eventually.


ted d. said...

Im sorry that sounds so uncomfortable, but at least you can look on the bright side and that you aren't being held captive in West Virginia.

I hadn't heard of bone pain before a few weeks ago and now you and my sister (bunionectomy) have both experienced it.

They asked how she tolerated pain and she said fine. They said, no, this is bone pain.

Squidhelmet said...

I can't believe what a long process this is!

I wish you courage for expedient Harvest. Maybe you should be listening to Neil Young - I think he had some experience with that stuff.

Glad to see a new post up!

Love Zeb

ps - I'm moving to Austin in about 2 weeks!

Derek said...

Dude, that sounds insane. You continue to inspire me with your courage. God that sounds so trite, but I really mean it. I really hope everything goes well. I see that the Harvest is now over for the time being, but I wish you the best for the remainder of the process.