Today is the day when my Stem Cells are to be harvested. I arrive at Nottingham City Hospital at just after 8:30am having dropped off the hire car.
As ever there is the ubiquitous blood sample to check my white blood cell (neutrophil) count and then my stem cell count. My wounds are redressed and my Hickman Line checked – this must be done weekly in Nottingham or in Lincoln for the time it is fitted.
There is a wait until 10:30am before the results are back then it’s all go. The Hickman Line is attached to the Apheresis Machine.
This will draw blood out and by a process of centrifuge separate the blood into its constituent parts (plasma, white blood /stem cells and red blood cells). The plasma and stem cells are extracted and the remaining constituents returned via the Hickman Line. This process takes several hours, but should be completed today, which will save me a night in the Patient Hotel. The centrifuge spins very fast and cells are collected until they reach a set value at which point they are pumped off into a bag. The centrifuge slows down in this period and once ready speeds up again to its full velocity.
To stop any clotting a blood thinner (CDA) is used but one it’s side effects is to convince the body it is calcium deficient resulting in tingly lips and fingers. This can be overcome by chewable calcium tablets.