Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Stem Cells Return

Monday July 15, 2012
Quail Run RV Resort Lot 15
Wesley Chapel, Florida


First I want to thank The Good Luck Ducks for the shout out today to our blog.  They have a devoted following and some of those folks have showed up over here. Since I shamelessly love comments, that’s a cool thing.   Thanks DUCKS!!  And now, back to the regular program.

I don’t much like to shop so I try to make short work of it.

Sunday, Day –1,  is a rest day.  I get up and go running then spend the morning getting David another laptop.  Don’t know if he’ll want to keep it but Best Buy assured me that it could be returned within 30 days for our money back.  He kept himself occupied getting it up and running with his email accessible which proved to be a big challenge especially with his University of Virginia account.  But at least he isn’t having eye strain looking at that double window screen. 

Day Zero 003


I also pick up a boom box for him since there is amazingly no radio in this room and he likes to listen to NPR in the morning.  In addition, we brought books on tape for me to listen to on my walkman while I run.  I know he will enjoy being able to listen to them as well.  I can get tapes at Goodwill for as little as a dollar and now I know why.  No one makes a cassette recorder anymore or certainly not one in a boom box.  I check Best Buy, Target, K-Mart and finally Wal-Mart before finding the one and only one Wal-Mart has.


Take a good look at what is becoming extinct.  Cassette is on the top.Day Zero 004










Otherwise, the day is happily uneventful. 


It is quiet due to the smaller week-end crew.  There are fewer people coming around just taking care of basics.  Much of the day is just taken up getting acquainted with how things work.

They explain that the melphalan had done its job and marked the cells that are going to be killed.  But the killing will take place over the next week or so.  Therefore the effects won’t be noticeable until that starts happening.  David is still feeling pretty normal and his blood numbers have actually increased each day.  They will crash and the possible side effects come on strong during these next days.

As a couple of people pointed out in the comments, this is a large room with a nice sofa which we turned to face out to see the trees and clouds.  That seems to have surprise some of the staff as apparently no one else has done that.

Here’s the what you see outside if you stand right by the window and look out. Room 3715 005


This is the view from the bed out that same window.the stem cells


Also in the room is a nice recliner chair, plenty of space for his clothing and other things.  In fact, David had me pace the room off and we have determined that it is larger than the indoor space in Winnona.  She is 34’ 8” from bumper to bumper but probably 25’ from driver’s chair to rear wardrobe.  I paced off the room with my boat sized sandals at about 30.5’ in length and 15’ wide.  As you can see he has his “other things” all over the place. 

Day Zero 001



Monday is the day the stems cell return.  I spend the morning making a lot of food for myself so that I will not have to come home for dinner in the evening or eat in the cafeteria. 

He is working on his laptop when I arrived and shortly the physical therapist Emily comes to see what sort of shape he is in before transplant so they can set realistic expectations for him after transplant.
In addition to testing his arms, having him tap his toes and stand one legged on each of his feet, she has him walk up and down the hall in this belt thing.   New Japanese style for David.

Day Zero 006C


Just before she leaves, his nurse Vance comes in to prepare him for the return of his stem cells.  He gets all the machinery set up and David hooked up to it.


Day Zero 014


Here they come!

About 1:15 a technician from the stem cell storage group comes with the first bag of cells.  I believe she says they will use 4000 of his 8500 and they will come in three bags.   Vance asks her to bring the second one in 15 minutes.


the stem cells 002


He hooks the stem cell bag up to the central line.

the stem cells 004


David is watching them drip along the line and return to his body.
I’m wondering how cold they must be if they were frozen.

the stem cells 005

Each subsequent bag is delivered at 15 minute intervals and it is all finished by 2:30.  A saline drip continues for another 90 minutes.

While he’s hooked to the heart monitor and saline drip, David says he’s ready for lunch so I bring him his full food tray with lasagna, salad, roll, cake and I don’t know what else.  A lot of food. 


Uh oh!

He only takes a couple of bites before the vomiting begins.  In about 20 minutes, Vance gives him anti nausea medication and he falls asleep without eating.

He sleeps for the next hour or so.  A deep snoring type of sleep.  Part of the protocol for the transplant is benadryl to induce the sleep and I am glad he is able to rest.  He is still not sleeping well at night.  Waking every hour and sometimes more often if the nursing staff comes in to “check his vital signs”. 

He wakes up about 5:20 seemingly no worse for the wear and tear.  Vance comes in and says the saline drip has to go for 4 hours but he can unhook it at 6:00.   That probably means 6:30.   David goes back to sleep.   I read blogs and comment.

He wakes up when his dinner is delivered and he says he feels like eating it and does.  Guess that anti nausea medicine is working.

David calls and Vance shows up about 6:30. Once he’s unhooked, we go for the prescribed walk around the unit. He’s supposed to do 4 laps  (11 laps is a mile) three times a day.  A walk is defined as starting at one set of double doors that lead into the hallway, walking to a second set of double doors and back. Doing this twice is one lap.  It’s a horse shoe shaped unit.  It feels to me like running around a VERY tiny indoor track over and over and over and….. He is not allowed outside the unit until he is discharged.   For now, his world has shrunk to his room and the hallway outside it.

He’s obviously feeling better since we do 6 laps which is just over half a mile.  I  don’t think he is too tired to do more but he wants to be back in time to watch the The Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  It’s a rare treat for him as we have never had cable.  We aren’t TV watchers.  Winnona still has the big old analog TV and we see no reason to change it to watch an occasional DVD.  But here, in a hospital where time passes slowly, he finds Stewart and Colbert funny and that’s a good thing just now.


  1. Hurray for Stewart and Colbert! I've heard something about medicine and laughter.

    Can they pre-empt future vomitation with that good anti-nausea drug?

  2. Well, so far so good!! Nice to see David up and around. Hope he continues to get some sleep and let his body heal.

    Hope the side effects are minimal and the stems cells do their job as quick as possible.

    Thinking of you both:o))

  3. It seems you both have made his 'world' as full as it can be, that is a good thing. You just think of everything. Don't think i would do anywhere near as good, my mind would be mush. Wasn't that 'South' thing stupid? & it took me 30 miles to figure it out, geez!! That i was actually HEADING South, when i wanted to be going North....Well didn't Missouri have a problem whether it was North or South :)

  4. Hope you are pleased with David's progress. He looks good and is certainly a man of great style in those fancy PJs. Love the socks too, quite the fashion statement. ;c)

    He's not the only one that gets a kick out of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. They are really funny. Nice that he can watch them and bring some fun into his day.

  5. I don't know how you keep up with all of this and what to expect each day, Sherry! Sure glad the medication contained the nausea for David, and he's able to eat. He looks well. I'm glad he's getting his exercise.

    I take Benedryl every night to sleep. I figured it's better than taking sleeping pills. I haven't seen you write about David's back pain, recently--has that subsided?

    Look at all his surprises! It's like Christmas...well, not quite of course, but I'm sure it's a good diversion for him. Glad you got the laptop. Funny--I was just eyeing a boom box left over from my kids, is my guess, and wondering whether to get rid of it--but I have all the kids' voices on tapes. My Dad had a permanent trach so when we moved to Atlanta, he couldn't talk to them on the phone so I sent my Mom and Dad tapes every day when they were little. They get a big kick out of them, now. Let's see, after that came the 8 tracks, I think.

    I go through antique shops and see all the things in our kitchen when I was a kid, that were thrown out! And, the prices!! I remember tin Saltine boxes--pricing is incredible, now! I know...I'm rambling.

    I'm feeling all these pregnant pauses, but I don't know quite what to say except you're on your way...onward and upward and back to your dream. Worth the fight! How brave you are. Thoughts always with you.

  6. Glad to hear David is feeling good for now. Here's hoping for continued good nausea control.

  7. That is a good thing. It's great that those distractions are available to him. He'll enjoy them and you'll be happy he has them.
    So glad you found a replacement laptop for David. That will also be a great diversion.
    Thinking of you...wishing you well.

  8. Okay, y'all both look great and for that I'm very thankful. I'm also thankful that you have a large, nice room. From a clinical standpoint, this is all very interesting, and I would call it extremely interesting except that it's happening to my friends!!! Thanks for sharing all of this so we're not wondering constantly how it's going.

    Nothing exciting to report from here except more "let's all forgive and forget and be friends" talk. Hang in! Hugs to you both

  9. looks like a wonderful room, and if you have to be stuck in that room I'm glad its a nice one. You continue to amaze me with your strength both of you..glad the vomiting is under control and David can eat between naps..praying those stem cells do their job fast. I am relieved to see you were able to get a new computer and boon box!! Sherry you are an amazing woman, I know this is as hard on the care giver as it is on the patient...you think of everything right down to turning that sofa around to change the view-I also think your both on your way onward and upward toward living your dream. So far so good-everything is crossed for you both-and prayers are in our heart for you..take care and thanks for sharing this journey and the updates

  10. Hi, Sherry. I haven't commented for quite awhile, but I've been reading regularly. From discussions with Judie and Gary, I have an idea of what is in store for you both. You have great courage! It seems that you both are as prepared, mentally and physically, as it is possible to be as you are launched into this great unknown. Your blog will be a great resource someday for another couple facing this challenge. I am filled with admiration for you both. Best wishes for a very successful outcome.

  11. Glad to see David's cozy, comfy and spacious room. He sure looked happy with the new laptop! Sending thoughts of strength and healing your way!

  12. Glad you were able to get David another laptop. His world would feel even smaller without it. Nice to hear the anti nausea medicine quickly kicked in and hope it continues to keep the nausea at bay.

  13. I'm glad you found a laptop replacement for David. And a boom box too wow. Glad David is still able to eat. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.
    ~Betty from Milwaukie, Oregon

  14. This is so sad, but since we started out on the road, I see no news nor read newspapers...our only news source is The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I figure if we don't make a difference, and nothing changes, we might as well laugh at it!!

  15. Thanks for the update-love his Bear Paws socks. Glad he felt up to a little extra walking. Hang in there.

  16. So wonderful that David has a new laptop! We'd be lost without ours, sad to say. Hope that anti-nausea drug can be in effect all the time to prevent future issues with nausea. You both sure are doing a great job of making the best of things. Your positive energy is coming through on the blogs, Sherry! David's got the best possible caregiver he could have, we think! And he is coming across as a very good patient...bet the nurses really like him. :-)

  17. Glad David was able to eat and that he is able to sleep. I hope you are able to eat and sleep. Having been a caretaker myself, it is sometimes too easy to forget about taking care of ones self.

  18. Glad to hear that David had a pretty good day, and that he was finally able to eat. Al says he just saw you run by twice. I'm impressed that you've been able to keep up with your runs in this heat, and with what you are going through. Hang in there, both of you.

  19. yea you got him the lap top. Now he will be busy. Can't believe you don't have real tv and can watch movies. You know your brother would have the wynona wired for everything. Glad David is doing better- Sure am glad you have this blog so I can keep up. It's just like the letters my mom wrote me when I went to camp. Like being right there!!!!

  20. Whew - a little slice of sunshine in the storm you are facing! Continued good thoughts and prayers to both of you.

  21. Ditto on what everyone else has already commented. I hope that your continued regimen of running helps relieve some of the stress of this situation.

  22. OK. So far, so good.
    Now is the time to channel your inner neat-freak and develop a massive case of mysophobia, the pathological fear of germs and contamination. Under these circumstances, crazy is good.
    You guys DID get lucky with that outstanding room!

  23. Great news on the laptop and I'll just add my best wishes for David to what everyone else has said.

  24. Nice pictures - I appreciate seeing them - I hope the side-effects going forward are minimal or can be well contained. Walmart! I'm shocked ;) Well, I think it was a good investment and that last boombox must have just been waiting for you. The indoor track doesn't sound all that fun, but it's definitely good for him to do it - get his blood pumping so the healing works faster - maybe...maybe...well, it's a thought ;) Nice of you to make the rounds with him - a dynamite companion. I hope you enjoy Stewart & Colbert too - they're funny guys!

  25. Love his outfit! I think you should pilfer one for you too..lol. Praying that this stem cell transplant will do the necessary work to make David healthy again.

  26. Yikes! Hope they are more proactive about the nausea! You're a trooper Dave! Sure was great to see your face on Skype last weekend! Thanks for the detailed writeup Aunt Sherry. As I told Carrie, you an utterly prolific blogger. I'm pretty well hooked. We, of course, are at the hospital ourselves since little Elise Noelle joined us Monday at 12:08pm. Just 5 minutes at the hospital before she was born! Just made it.......love you both so much. Hoping that 6lap stamina holds strong! Keep up the good work you two!

    Justin & Carmen

  27. So glad they have anti-nausea drugs that are actually helping him! Loving the Japanese look!


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