7/31 – Next Steps

Just wanted to throw a quick update on the stem cell harvest.

Yesterday after waking up at 5:00 AM (again), driving up to Hackensack (again), eating at our favorite smoke infested diner (again) and reporting for stem cell harvest we learned that out of the 12 million stem cells we were supposed to collect our actual collection was …

wait for it …

18.9 MILLION! I always said I was an overachiever. So what is my reward for this monumental output? Do I get to go home? OF COURSE NOT!!! Since I had already injected myself with the Mozobil the night before they suggested I sit again because, you know, you can never harvest TOO MANY stem cells. Actually – that’s true. As they told me at HMC I might need them down the road for something completely unrelated. I enjoyed the positive view of my life expectancy. The mere suggestion of a “down the road” took my mind off of the fact I was going to sit there all day again.

So Nurse Cheryl hooked me into the COBE Spectra with Astotherm Plus via a large needle in each arm and off we went to take out and filter another 20 liters of pure B+ Coustan. I find it IRONIC that my blood type is “B POSITIVE” because that’s the state of mind necessary to beat this thing.

I won’t know how many I collected yesterday because I am not going back today. They will call me or send me a report with the results but we have more than enough cells collected for MULTIPLE transplants if that’s the road we choose to go down.

So … What are NEXT STEPS? I emailed Dr. J with my collection total and asked that very question. His reponse:


That’s it. That was his response. “YES” in all caps with two exclamation points. ***By the way – he does love his exclamation points*** After a few emails asking for clarity our HARVEST AND REGROUP plan is in place. I will begin Chemo treatments again on Fridays and Saturdays with Carfilzomib, Revlimid and Dexamethasone (CRD) – 3 weeks on and 1 week off – until (hopefully) January when I will have the stem cell transplant. That is when they put my cells just harvested this week back into my body and give me a reset button on life.

Why January? Work is busy – crazy busy – in all the best ways. We are closing our fund to new money by the latest at the end of the year and I need to make sure I am channeling my efforts toward my clients through then. We also have a family trip to Mexico planned at the end of December. I missed last years vacation upon my diagnosis and don’t want to miss this years as well. Lastly, I would like to get one more ski trip with Helene and the kids in before I transplant. Maybe Mt. Tremblant or Vermont for a few days. I don’t think I can shred it anymore, in fact, this might be the year that I need to keep up with the kids instead of the other way around!

As long as I am not taking any extra risk by waiting that is the plan. So far Dr. J says its OK – but as we know – in Cancer and in life – things can change, sometimes RAPIDLY.

LAST THING from yesterday. Since I retained so much of the fluid they were pumping in me during the procedure (I was up 5 lbs in weight) that they gave me this stuff called Lasix to help me “release” the fluids. I asked the nurse if it was the same Lasix they give horses. She really didn’t answer the question but based on the number of times I was up last night lets just say I understand where the term “peeing like a racehorse” comes from!

THANK YOU EVERYONE for your support and concern. Back at it today. Real life.

6 responses to “7/31 – Next Steps

  1. Thanks again for all of your updates!! So happy to hear that things went smoothly and that your plan is set in place. Love that u have ALWAYS FOUND THE SILVER LINING THROUGHOUT THIS JOURNEY—Blood type is B POSITIVE!!!! I don’t know if you have heard Lee DeWyze’s new song Silver Lining–ever time I hear it I think of you!! You have inspired me to find my silver linings…and I’m sure many others who have been touched by you and your unbelievable strength!!

  2. Great news! Made my Day. You are an overachiever and that is why cancer doesn’t stand a chance. xooxo

  3. You’re a Rock Star!!! I love your posts, your attitude and the fact that everything’s falling into place as planned. Cautiously optimistic is what I’m feeling for you. Hopeful and praying every day that it all comes together as planned. It’s a great day to fight cancer! So inspired I’m going to tack on an extra mile in my training run tonight 🙂 Go get ’em Brad!

  4. Brad so glad to hear of positive progress! I spent a lot of time in Hackensack last spring when Rob had his heart surgery, but fortunately did not cross paths with the smoky waitress at the diner……

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