G-CSF is not some new exam system, but is in fact a medical treatment designed to boost the production of stem cells in the body. It stands for Granulocyte=colony stimulation factor – so you can see why it is better to use the acronym!
Today I started a 5 day regime of G-CSF injections. I need to have 5 injections per day, administered in two batches morning and evening. These need to be made up from supplied sterile water and powdered G-CSF which are combined in a small vial and then injected into my stomach. Thankfully I am not having to do that myself – even though it is not painful, it is weird to have to do. I ‘take my hat off’ to all those diabetics who inject themselves daily. Anyway in my case Anita will do this and is very much happy to do so.
The G-CSF we are using is lenograstim (Granocyte®) one of the many varieties that exist.
G-CSF is a type of protein known as a growth factor. My body produces this naturally but it can be man made. In this case it’s purpose is to stimulate the production of stem cells in my bone marrow. This will happen to such an extent that the stems cells will be released into the blood. From here they will be collected (harvested) under a process called apheresis.
The injections are relatively straight forward but I need to watch for side effects. These could include:
- Bone Pain
- Red, itchy skin
- Bruising or bleeding
- Fever or chills
- Sickness / reduced appetite
- Enlarged spleen
- Liver changes
- Swelling in the feet / ankles
- Allergic reaction
Thankfully as of yet I have not experienced any allergic reaction. I am hoping most of the others will non manifest though I expect bone pain as the G-CSF goes to work producing the stem cells. Nothing that paracetamol won’t cure.
Having had Valcade injections I am well used to itchy red skin on my stomach. Most of the symptoms above can be combatted either with paracetamol or anti-sickness medicine of I have both. The enlarges spleen might cause some discomfort on the left hand side and as with the liver will return to normal after treatment.
That leaves swollen ankles / feet – which have already been the bane of my life over the past few months so I doubt I’ll notice.