This week we start preparing for the autologous transplant. I spent most of the weekend contemplating this next step; while it's not as dramatic and scary as the donor transplant, it's still a big event.
On Thursday I go in to have a central catheter placed. Then I'll receive neupogen shots for four days -- but a much larger dose than before -- to ramp up my stem cell production. On Monday, they start collecting, which could take one day, or several. The following Monday, May 2, I receive a big dose of melphalen, the chemo drug which will pretty much wipe out my bone marrow, and then I'll be admitted on Tuesday the 3rd. On Wednesday the 4th, my stem cells will be "transplanted".
After that, it's just a matter of waiting for my counts to come back up again. Providing there are no complications, and I'm able to eat and drink on my own (melphalen can cause severe mucositis), they'll send me home shortly after my white cell count begins to rebound.
And then, the instant Dr. Curtin gives me the okay, I am going up to see my herd!!!!