Monday, March 14, 2011

Welcome Harry the Hickman catheter

Today we welcome a new member to our cancer fighting family. Meet Harry the Hickman catheter:

He's got three lumens to facilitate the apheresis process I'll start tomorrow. The larger internal diameter of a 3 lumen catheter helps facilitate blood flow in and out of me (and since it's going in and out at the same time, I need at least two lumens). The Cobe Spectra machine - which strangely enough Susan helped develop 15 years ago - applies quite a high pressure in the line when extracting and injecting blood. So although I now feel like a cow with multiple teats, I am ready for white blood cell harvesting in the morning.

The catheter placement went very smoothly. A bit of Versed and Fentanyl ( my new favorite cocktail - highly recommended!), some local anesthetic and I've now got another Borg implant. After the procedure Susan and I got out for a nice walk around City Park to help work the meds out of my system. It was a beautiful afternoon in Denver today and it was really nice to walk around the park and see various kids' teams practicing Frisbee and lacrosse.

At the end of the afternoon I dropped back into the infusion center for a shot of Mozobil which tells all my wildly  producing white blood cells that it s time to come out of my bone marrow and party! These little guys are then in for a surprise - they will get vacuumed up by the Cobe Spectra machine, then frozen, then re-injected into me. Hah!

So tomorrow at 7:00 am I start my collection process. These are the fellow that will save my life - will be given back to me after I get blasted with chemo. The dual effect of getting frozen and then having to migrate back to my bone marrow are both things that those wimpy cancer cells can't do so I will (in theory) get a new and healthy immune system after all these shenanigans are completed in a couple of weeks.

More news tomorrow! I will post a picture of the mighty Cobe Spectra as it does its vampire thing on my blood.

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