Today I went to Nottingham. This important visit was to meet with the medical team at Nottingham City Hospital who are overseeing the next phase of my treatment. That being the production, extraction and reinsertion of my stem cells back into my body either side of some intensive chemotherapy to destroy the remaining Myeloma cells.
To be truthful my head is buzzing with information and dates, so some of what is written here may well need to be refined.
The most important facts are as follows.
During a 5 day period at the end of August I will take GCSF treatments to stimulate the production of stem cells and after 5 days these will be harvested. I will do this in Nottingham as an outpatient.
Because my kidney function is poor, this precludes the use of specific chemotherapy drugs in the harvesting process. The process must therefore be slightly modified. I will only have GCSF treatment to stimulate the production. This process is marginally less efficient than it would be with the additional chemotherapy input but is much less toxic and therefore less risky. The drawback being that it may take longer to harvest the stem cells and so require more outpatient sessions. These stem cells will be frozen and stored ready for use in the next stage.
After three weeks or so I will then be admitted to Nottingham as an inpatient and will be given some chemotherapy to kill off the remaining Myeloma and sadly also my own platelets and white blood cells. Almost immediately my harvested Stem cells will be reintroduced and will migrate to the bone marrow to re-engineer my blood cells. I will remain in hospital for about three weeks. I will be immunocompromised and will need to be re-vaccinated for all those childhood diseases. I will however not be in isolation and I likely to be at risk of disease.
Then begins a process of recovery which will leave me fairly exhausted leading up to Christmas. I have been told not to undetermined how fatigued I will be at this time.
I will need to undergo regular checks to monitor the light chain levels, but hopefully my remission (I am already in remission) will be maintained for a long time.