Friday, 26 July 2013
The Event - Part Two
It is official, the transplant has been completed. It started at 15:30 and finished at 18:00 which is a lot longer than most; Normally, for this type of transplant, it would be done and dusted in about half an hour. For your entertainment, I have taken a few photographs to walk you through the process. Health warning: there is blood involved, if squeamish, do not continue further.
This is the "Dalek" It contains my transplant cells
This is what happens when you open it - good old fashioned liquid nitrogen pours out.
This is what comes out of the Dalek - two incredible small bags of cells; they hold about 20mls each.
The bags of cells then go into this water bath to be defrosted and warmed up to body temperature.
So in hindsight, this is kinda funny. The bags of cells come in another sterile bag encasing it, shown here. It is so you can take out the smaller bag, with the cells, and still maintain a sterile field. Unfortunately, during the defrosting process, the inner bag split releasing the cells into the outer bag which you can see here. I was unaware of this at the time, because the nurses literally legged it out the room to speak to a doctor. So instead of sucking up the cells with a syringe from a neatly contained smaller bag, they were doing it from the bigger one as you can see here. Thankfully it makes no difference to my treatment; although it is kinda funny that I was joking with them before hand to make sure they didn't drop the bag!
This is them pushing the cells into my line. They use larger needles for this process to all for the size of the cells. They had to keep changing needles every 1-2mls because the needles kept getting block. There 40mls in total to be infused which equals a lot of needles and a lot of time.
So there we have it, the story of my transplant. I feel fine at the moment, although I am tired and my stomach feels a tiny bit funny. So now it is a waiting game. It should take about a week for all my blood levels to drop to zero and then another four weeks for them to recover. During that time, the transplanted cells will somehow magically find their way to my bone marrow and know that they are supposed to turn into bone marrow cells. It's absolutely mind boggling when you think about it. We also worked out the the children, from whom these cords belong to, will now be two and four years old. To them, their parents and the medical team, I would just like to say, thank you for saving my life.