Stem Cell Transplant


My Story

Stem Cell Transplant

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I would like to tell you  how my transplant worked.  
Hopefully others will write in and post their stories 
for others to read.  

I had what is called a haematopoetic (blood), autologous (self) 
adult stem cell transplant.  Because my situation is part 
of the Autoimmune Diseases the doctors were able to use 
MY OWN stem cells.  I had no donor.  This accomplished several 
things:  the cost was less, and I did not have to take any anti-
rejection drugs. Since I had no need for a donor, and I was 
not a candidate for Graft versus Host Disease.

This is how it worked:  I had a dose of chemo which acted 
like a stick poking a hole in a wasps’ nest.  This alerted the 
stem cells in the bone marrow to migrate to the blood 
stream. I had growth hormone shots and daily blood tests 
to monitor the drop in the white cell count. When the cells 
reached a certain number, they were “harvested” by means of a 
pheresis machine.  This looks like an old style reel to reel 
tape recorder.  The blood is taken from the body through a 
tube, culled of its stem cells, and returned back to the body 
via another tube.  You are awake, and comfortable.  There 
is no pain.  

The stem cells are frozen in a preservative, and you rest 
until  your admission date.  Once admitted, several more 
rounds of chemo are administered to kill off the immune 
system completely. They are followed by a compliment 
component which acts as a large broom to sweep up any cells 
which might have been left behind.

Then, it is “T” day.   The process “reboots” your immune 
system.  The cells, still in their bags, are hung on a 
hook and attached to your lines, just like a blood transfusion.  
It takes about an hour and a half.  Done.  Very anticlimactic, 
actually.  Afterward, you are very weak for several days.  
I likened the whole process to being reborn.  It helped to 
think that way to understand what was happening.  After a couple 
of days, you start walking and regaining your strength.  
When the cells begin to work, which takes between 
10 – 14 days, you are discharged to outpatient status 
again.  After about two to four weeks, you are released 
into the care of your own physician.  Then, when you see 
your family, friends, and doctors, watch their faces and  
their reaction when they see the new you!!

When I left to have the procedure done my skin color was 
grey/green.  When I returned it was pink.  It made a 
believer out of the members of my team who were very 

At this writing, my skin involvement is about 90 per cent 
normal.  The fatigue is gone.  The rash is gone.  My 
hypertension is gone. My Pulmonary Hypertension is gone, 
the attacks of Raynauds is nearly zero.   My lung 
function is, to my mind about 75% better. All of my 
pulmonary function tests show that my lungs are 
improving. My symptoms are arrested.  

Do I regret it?  Absolutely not.

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.

My doctor tells it this way:  “pretty soon, a sick person will 
go into a hospital, have a stem cell transplant or some other 
bio-genetic product, and will come out healthy.  It is the 
wave of the future.”

I urge you to research it for yourself.  You may find 
resistance in your medical team.  I urge you to follow your 
own path.  You may have to go it alone. You won't be alone.  
You can call me as an advocate and mentor. I can get you to a 
doctor who will help you do what you need to do.

Now, three years later, those going for a transplant have a much 
shorter time period, and much less drugs to take to be readied.  
Their recovery time in the hospital is shorter by about two whole 
weeks.  The technology is still moving forward at an amazing rate. 
Is this right for you?  I do not know.  But you can find out 
with a simple phone call or email.  It’s your life.  Be in 
charge of making your own decision.