11.8 million stem cells.
[picks mic up and runs a Lysol wipe over it, then sprays down with Lysol, then applies Purell to hands.]
Stem cells all around! The procedure was fascinating. It was not fun, but it was fascinating. I won't go into detail. Let me say this: apheresis stem cell collection is not painful. Sitting for five hours with your arms contorted and not able to move will cause pain. I also learned that this procedure is a little different for each patient depending on the disease. MS patients fare differently through aphaeresis collection, as it tends to trigger MS symptoms because of having to hold still. Movement can alleviate lots of symptoms, so when you can't, the symptoms are amplified. They don't call me Fidgety Bridgety for nothin'.
Cheryl and Meg weren't allowed in the room with me, unfortunately, but I was kept company by about 8 doctors and nurses in the room with me at all times. I have to tell you, I can't gush enough about the doctors and staff here. Each morning when we have to be at the clinic, we're greeted at the van by two staff. Five minutes later when we arrive at the clinic, there are 4 others waiting on the sidewalk waving while we pull up to the curb. They walk us in together and tell us about the schedule, get us tucked into our chair in our private chemo room or apheresis room, and then go wait in the lounge while we have chemo or apheresis. They take turns coming to check on us as often as the doctors and nurses do. When it's over, the same gaggle of staff walk us back out to the van and wave us off. I hate using this word, but it's literally like having a mobile cheerleading squad follow me around. During apheresis collection, the doctors were chanting "you can do it!" with every countdown of the hours. They just needed a synchronized dance routine.
Today was spent back in Hematology and Internal Medicine for the first of 2 more days of chemo. This round started out a little worse than the first, but after this post I plan to eat some delicious food that Cheryl made me, and camp out for the rest of the day and night.
Meg flew back today. I'm sad to see her go, it was very difficult and I know she had a difficult time with it, too. I can't imagine this trip starting out any other way. The staff was sad to see her go as well. She hit it off with them, and with my stemmie sister and her husband as well. We'll always have Mexico, Meg. So that means we'll have to come back on my 1 year bday and do Mexico a little differently. I love you so much, Meaghon Marie. For all you do. Every day. And I'm so proud of you.
Cheryl is here! New adventures begin! She made it in Wednesday and got familiar with the place immediately. I'm so psyched that the three of us had time together before Meg left. It was special to me to have 2 of my sisters here. So far Cheryl has cleaned the apartment three times, gotten me to chemo and back, has located the grocery store, the cleaning supplies, the laundry, the buckets (just in case), and has whipped up her usual comfort foods. I'm working on a one-syllable request system: "meh" "you want a water?" "mmph" "you need to lay down" "hrmp" "you want curried chicken with rice and spinach?"
Cheryl speaks 3 languages. She'll get it.