• Stem Cell Harvest

    May 17th, 2010willLiam

    We all go nuts for donuts!

    It has been far to long since we had any updates on here, so sorry about that…we were busy playing and getting better.  When looking back at the calendar a lot has happen in the past few weeks so the easiest place to start is at the beginning and work our way through.

    May 18-19, 2010: Stem Cell Harvest.

    One of the upcoming treatments Liam will under go is a autologous stem cell transplant after his 6th round of Chemo.  An autologous stem cell transplant is a technologically advanced process that involves four steps:

    1. Stem cells are harvested from the bone marrow or peripheral blood of the patient.
    2. Liam will receive high doses of chemotherapy in an attempt to destroy cancerous cells. The chemotherapy also destroys his marrow.
    3. To restore Liam’s marrow (which is needed for a properly functioning immune system), his stem cells that have been harvested before the administration of high-dose chemotherapy are delivered intravenously. The process of infusion is much like a blood transfusion. The stem cells find their way through the blood stream to the center of the long bones.
    4. Supportive care with blood products, antibiotics and anti-viral drugs allows many people to recover while their blood counts are low. This therapy helps the new bone marrow to become established in the patient.

    The giant machine over Liam's shoulder is the key to the whole procedure.

    In preparation of the transplant, Liam has to undergo stem cell harvesting .  Liam received a growth factor medicine, called G-CSF, a few days before collecting the stem cells.  This forces the stem cells from the bone marrow into the general circulation (mobilization).   Liam’s blood is cycled out and the stems cells are removed and then the blood is returned in a process called apheresis (similar to donating platelets).
    What makes this such a tough process is the fact that Liam has to stay in one place from about 8 am till about 6 pm on back to back days.  If you have ever met Liam, you know that he is a body in motion and prefers to stay in motion.

    Passing the time during stem cell harvest with some painting.

    Liam was simple amazing both days, he showed a level of patience with the whole procedure that was well beyond his years (I know I would have trouble sitting there for two days..I would probably have trouble sitting there for 2 hours!).  We played some games, painted, watch a few movies and tried to do whatever we could to pass the time.

    We are going to try and get a bunch of updates out in the next few day, so stay tuned and


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