Day One

All of the preparations have finally led to day zero.  Yesterday was the big day.  It is a real mile marker but, thankfully, wasn’t too eventful.  In the morning they gave him dexamethazone, benedryl and tylenol.  This is in preparation for any allergic reactions he might have to the preservative in the stem cell solution.

Some interesting things about the stem cells:  They are put into a solution which is absorbed into the cells and replaces the water.  This preservative doesn’t expand when it freezes and so this allows them to freeze and preserve the cells without destroying them. The cells are frozen and stored at -200 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Dry ice is at -60)

The cells were delivered and thawed in a warm water bath in his room.  When they put the cells back into your body, the preservative quickly dissolves and leaves your body.   Within a few seconds, the patient can taste it in their mouth and those in the room can smell it. They had Stephen suck on hard candy to counteract the taste.   It smells like canned corn!  We call it the Niblets smell.  His room smelled really strong the first day but the smell is fading.   Following the transplant Stephen felt fine.  The day proceeded fairly normally.   (other than the Jazz were decimated!)

His blood counts have continued to drop as they should.  His nutriphils are down from 2000 to 100.  They are your main immune system.  His white blood cell count is about .5 (7-10 thousand is normal) and his hematocrit is about 24.   When his hematocrit gets below 24 they give him blood.  I don’t recall the counts for platelets but when they get low they replace those as well.  The other counts just build up as his body starts to produce it’s own blood cells again.   Tonight he is feeling really weak and has a stomach ache.  I guess this is the start of the aftermath of destroying everything.  Time for the clean up to begin.

Hopefully nothing too unusual will happen but the next week will most likely be pretty crumby for him.  He’s tough and he keeps using the old saying ‘this too shall pass.’

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About Jane Griener

I am from SLC, UT. I grew up in a wonderful family in the south part of the Salt Lake valley. I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers. I married my best friend, Jeff Griener when we were 21 years old. We have 6 children. 4 boys and 2 girls. I've had many adventures in business and life. Too many to tell about in a simple 'about you' spot. My life is centered around my family and they are the most important factor in my life. I like gardening, photography, cooking, knitting, graphic design and lots of other things. I speak a little spanish. Fall is my favorite season of the year, but I think having all 4 seasons is what makes me love fall so much. Religion plays a big roll in my life. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Striving to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and become a better person each day is my goal. Well, that is a bit 'about me!'
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3 Responses to Day One

  1. Diane Kiser says:

    Through each post, all of us as friends and family are gaining a greater knowledge of medical procedures and the science involved with this particular disease. We are, also, able to have a greater understanding of how faith, hope, prayer, and love play such a vital role in the success of these procedures. Stephen, you are a great example for all of us follow. Being optimistic, spiritually strong when the body is weak, and fighting for each new day has made our lives more meaningful and gives us hope in our own daily struggles. You are a gift to us. We love and appreciate you. Keep being who you are. It is hard. We have no idea the extent of what you physically feel. We can only cheer from the sidelines and pray for each daily success. You are wonderful.

    With much love,

    Diane Kiser

  2. Kimberly McGuire says:

    Awesome Stephen! It was so much fun visiting you last Sunday! We love you and you are in our prayers!

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