You May Smell Like Creamed Corn…

November 23, 2010: Happy Birthday to me, I get stem cells for a fee, I cannot wait to walk well again, It may take a year or three! 

Welcome Back!  Now, on to my wonderful stem cell birthday story! 

On November 23, 2010; I was scheduled for my stem cell infusion at 1:30pm.  My white blood cells were depleted to almost nothing and it was the day for my stem cells to come back on board and (as I have said before) kick some MS butt!  I did my usual routine that morning: woke up, called for the nurse to turn the alarm off on my bed (they worry about falls), went to the bathroom, ordered breakfast (for some reason I loved scrambled eggs, toast, and hot tea), nibbled on some cereal as I waited for my food (yeah, chemo did not really affect my appetite), took my morning medications, put on the television and chatted with my husband about the sleep arrangements. 

He decided that, instead of going to a hotel, he would stay in the room and sleep on the pull out couch.  Not the greatest of ideas because at 2 in the morning, the nurses come in to take vitals, blood and weigh me!  Yeah, I said it…weigh me at 2am!!!  Okay, when you are trying to sleep, why does it seem necessary to get a weight at 2 in the morning?  I don’t think my weight will change that drastically if, say, it was done at around 6am!  I did find out several days later that I could request that my weight be taken later…why didn’t I think of that sooner???  Anyway, Jim didn’t really have the best time resting, so I guess it was okay that he would not be there every night…he did have to go back to work after all.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous that morning.  I don’t know why and when I look back, it really was not something to worry about.  They were giving me back something that came from me. 

Me that morning...

It was just the whole crazy situation that I was in and that, at a younger age I would never have pictured myself going through.  Seriously, I wasn’t really thinking, while going to high school, that one day I would be isolated in a hospital bald, having chemo, and ready to get STEM CELLS for multiple sclerosis.  I know that the concept of using stem cells to fight MS was not even thought of back then and now it is, so if anybody wants to know what to do when they grow up…work on helping people using adult stem cells!  I really think Dr. Burt has something here…

So, yes, my nerves were a little frazzled, but I was excited and ready for anything that could help me!

I had a nice Polish nurse who would be with me that day and it was great to find this out!  I thought about my Grandpa and how he would be thrilled to find out that I had a Polish nurse of all things!!!  So, she suggested that while we videotaped this event, she would speak to my Grandpa in Polish very briefly on the video!  I was thrilled.  My Grandpa and late Grandma are, and always will be, very important to me.  It was almost like Grandma was watching from above and sent me a POLISH nurse.      

My Nurse on that day...

It just made the day even more special because I know she watches over me a lot and this proved it.  I found out my nurse was Polish because of her accent and apparently her mother makes homemade pierogi that you can buy at Kasia’s Deli in Chicago http://www.kasiasdeli.com/.  After coming home, we went to Sam’s Club and there in the refridgerator section was frozen Kasia’s pierogi!  Needless to say, I bought some and they are delicious! 

So, back to my “Birthday”, about a half hour before my stem cell infusion, my nurse gave me some medication and I was told to lay down in my nice cozy bed and wait for the process to start.  At around 1:20, the chaplain, my doctors, my nurse, and my nurse practitioner came into the room.  They were followed by the lab person who was pushing a  cryogenic chamber that contained my stem cells…all 17million of them.  

Caution: Contains Delicate Stem Cells...

They were frozen and she brought them out and thawed them by placing them in lukewarm water.  Thawing my Stem Cells!
After thawing them out, the chaplain came to the side of my bed and blessed them before the nurse hooked the bag up to my IV and hung it on my IV Pole.  My nurse started the line running which had a syringe attached to it to help dilute the Stem Cells to help it go in easier. 
Starting my Stem Cells!

Starting my Stem Cells!

They said it would take about a half hour to run.  Well, for me, it took a little longer.  You see, I started feeling some pressure in my chest where the PICC line was located and they had to slow the stem cells down!  It was a strange feeling and they were very good at knowing what to do and making me so comfortable.   
After slowing the line down, it took about 40 minutes and then they gave me a blood transfusion as well.   
They did tell me that anybody around me would probably smell garlic or creamed corn from the preservative that the stem cells were in, well, I smelled it almost immediately!  Creamed corn!  Thank heavens it was not garlic, I mean, I like garlic, but the scent can get a little overwhelming. 

Us

It was funny though, because Jim could smell it and told me later how strong it was…I told him he’s supposed to say I smell like roses…aw well… 
So, after my stem cell infusion, I decided to rest a little.  And this is where I will leave you…until I continue my story, here’s a few pics that I want to share…

The Awesome Dr. Burt...and us of-course...

Stem Cell Team

Prayer Quilt from Jim's Co-Worker and friends...

One Response to “You May Smell Like Creamed Corn…”

  1. Renee says:

    Lisa:

    Thank you so much for being so candid with us and sharing your experience. I am praying for you everyday and I am in awe of your bravery and attitude through all of this. You are an inspiration to us all.

    Love you.
    Renee

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