by Michael Wells
It’s early Thursday morning and I am (and have been since 3:00am) awake. I was lying in bed thinking about what is going to be taking place in the next few weeks and it’s just about overwhelming. I spoke with Dr. Weiss last evening and he told me most likely CHOP would be harvesting my stem cells through my blood. The process is called peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). The collection process is called apheresis or leukapheresis to obtain the PBSCs for transplantation. I will be given mediation (injections in my butt by my beautiful and hopefully gentle wife; Sherrie) for 4 to 5 days before apheresis to increase the number of stem cells released into my bloodstream. It’s much like giving platelets; blood is removed through one of my larger veins either in my arm or through a central venous catheter placed in my neck, chest, or groin area. Let’s all hope it’s the arm, neck or chest and leave it at that! Apheresis typically takes 4 to 6 hours. I guess I should bring my laptop with me. The blood goes through a machine and everything but the stem cells are returned to me. The stem cells are then frozen until day zero which is the official transplantation day for Brady.
So, other than being stuck in the butt a few times this is no big deal for me. Let’s all hope they do the job for Brady and quickly and effectively “set up shop” in his body. He’s sleeping now and I absolutely love watching him all curled up in the fetal position. He continues to amazes me; his vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Yesterday; he added doctor, and one I’m sure Sherrie will love Coke. I know it’s not good form to give a baby soda but right now it’s not even a discussion point. Last night in the “Man Cave” we had coke and chips; life is pretty darn good!
Well, I’m just rambling and it’s a good time to jump into the shower so until next time – please continue to pray, think and give someone a hug and don’t forget if you can stop by the Elk Lodge in Union, NJ this Sunday and donate a pint of blood. Great thing to do before the Super Bowl!!!
A very short entry tonight; I’m really tired and I must be on the road to Philadelphia rather early tomorrow morning. First things first; Brady is doing just exceptionally well. His counts continue in the right direction and it looks like Tuesday will be a double header event. Brady will have a cat scan and while he’s anesthetized he will have his most important bone marrow biopsy. Big, Big day Tuesday!
Tomorrow Sherrie and Brady are traveling to CHOP in an ambulance. I cannot begin to imagine what the cost of this trip is going to be. I think we could have hired a stretch limo for a lot less.
A couple of thank you’s tonight. Thank you Aunt Ellen and Uncle Frank for the delicious stuffed peppers and potato soup; it was outstanding. I understand the stuffed peppers were made by Debbie Roedel. I hope I didn’t misspell her name. I’ve never met the Rodels but I have heard some wonderful things about their philanthropic gestures. Thank you both for being so considerate and if I understood Sherrie correctly all I can say is; WOW!!! I will explain this wow when I have all my facts straight.
Thank you Cousin Renee and her beautiful daughter Mackinzie for the custom made Valentine chocolate bars. They brought a smile to our faces; thank you!!!
So, let me call it a night and until next time; keep your good thoughts, hugs and prayers coming Brady’s way he going to especially need them between now and Tuesday…
“8 Years Later—Still No Cure for Pediatric Cancer” is a series of posts revisiting the journal kept by Sherrie and Michael Wells during the cancer diagnosis and treatment of their son, Brady Michael. Hopefully these entires will provide an understanding of the journey families face when dealing with these horrific diseases and of the important work the Hugs for Brady Foundation does.
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