Thursday, January 21, 2010

Stem Cell Harvest at MSKCC

Jordan had her stem cell havest at MSKCC in NYC this week. (FYI, in previous posts I abbreviated Sloan-Kettering as SK but the official abbreviation is MSKCC so I'm going to get on board.) While we had another week of long days with the addition of long commutes, the harvest itself wasn't very difficult. The roughest part for Jordan was getting the temporary harvest IV line (the implanted port she has for chemo only has one line and the harvest requires a port with two lines). The procedure to get the line was done under anesthesia in about ten was the two and a half hour delay (and two and a half extra hours of no food) that was difficult.

Once the line was in, Jordan was hooked up to the harvest machine in the blood bank. The process resembled donating blood...Jordan's blood cycled through the harvest machine and the stem cells were removed and stored in the blood bank. Jordan was a champ during the two hour harvest sessions....she was very content napping or watching movies so it made the process much easier for the nurse and for me!

Jordan's collection goal was 7 million stem cells. On Monday, they collected 5.1 million cells so we had to go back for a second day. On Tuesday, they collected 3.8 million cells so she easily met her goal. And on Thursday we made one more trip to the city to remove the harvest IV line and to get a bone marrow biopsy to confirm the status of her bone marrow at the time of the harvest. After all these trips I feel like a pro navigating through the city...which is saying a lot considering my horrendous driving skills.

Being at MSKCC all week made me miss our clinic at Morristown. The staff at Morristown treat Jordan like a rock star and they make things so easy for me. When we walk in the door, everyone chimes in with hellos and asks how Jordan is doing. When I call with questions, if no one is available to talk to me right then I get a call back within an hour (and often from a doctor no less). MSKCC is providing Jordan with great medical care...we just are not getting the hand holding we have become accustomed to...but I think we will get more comfortable as we spend more time there and get familiar with their processes.

The weekend before the harvest the Groarke family drove up to entertain Jordan in our front lawn since she still has to be sequestered from other children. Jordan loved looking out the window at cousins Molly, Emily, and Brandi and was particularly entertained watching Max run around with Nola.

Can you see the harvest IV line taped up on the right side of her body with the blue ends hanging equal with her belly button? Jordan's curious hands thought it was the most convenient toy for her to play with all week.

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