Oct. 19th, 2017

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Day Minus Two: and this is the big one, as far as treatment is concerned. We have been told to expect to be in the clinic for about twelve hours.

At seven this morning, Karen was allowed a breakfast of one (1) glass of water, one (1) granola bar, and one (1) piece of fruit with no added yogurt. Fortunately, I was allowed all the coffee I wanted.

At nine we piled into the team bus, and came to the clinic. Access ports were opened, blood was drawn, and we sat around for an hour while they tested that for stem cell wealth.

Once satisfied, they are taking us - or at least the patient half of us - into the apheresis room, to be attached to a machine for the next four hours. Their blood will be slurruped out of them, and the stem cells fished individually (I like to think) from the blood before it's pumped back in again. Karen is rated for 117,000,000 cells. Which is quite a big number, and I want to know how they count 'em.

After that comes five hours of chemo, also through the port. Then they take us home.

Karen's been connected up, and we caregivers are not allowed into the apheresis room. So guess what I get to do for the next four hours?

Uh-huh. Fortunately, while we were making our wills and giving all our worldly goods into the possession of a trust (The Trebizon Trust, did I mention? I am convinced that in a few hundred years it'll be this megacorp, dominating human space if not in fact the galaxy), our lawyer and I had a cheerful talk about how The Count of Monte Cristo is a masterpiece, and I thought, "Ooh..."

So I'm halfway through that, and there's enough reading left to keep me happy for a day or two to come. After that, though, Lord only knows what I'll turn to next. Suggestions of long, familiar comfort-reads available on e-book will be gratefully received.
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So everyone came out of the apheresis room, and was hungry, so we went across the road to a local restaurant for lunch. And were summoned back precipitately, because they had counted everyone's stem cells and the results were ready. Hearts in each other's mouths, back we came - and Oystein had 500 million, which was plenty, and Rafa had 750 million, which was awesome. And Karen had over 1000 million, and is best. Which of course we all knew already, right?

So now we're back in the chemotherapy room, being chemotherapised to kill off the immune system all but entirely. That's the rest of today and then tomorrow too. Saturday, she gets all her thousand million stem cells back, under firm instructions to get stemming, or celling, or whatever it is that they do.

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