3/4/2018 2 Comments
Stem Cell Harvest & Transplant
Hello everyone! Sawyer is finishing his second cycle of chemotherapy he had one more treatment today. This is the only cycle he can have outpatient and he has been happy about being able to go home every night. He has been doing very well, not too many side effects, mainly just tiredness. We wanted to share with all of you some more information we have been given about Sawyer’s treatment. Specifically, what will happen with Sawyer’s stem cell harvest which will take place sometime before cycle three as well as more of what stem cell transplant will look like.
After Sawyer completes his chemotherapy treatments he will be having two Autologous Stem Cell Transplants. These transplants will utilize his own stem cells which will be harvested and given back to him after he completes his last cycle of chemotherapy. What are stem cells? Stem cells are immature cells that can grow into different types of blood cells including white blood cells, red blood cells, or platelets located within the bone marrow inside the bone. Sawyer’s chemotherapy will not only destroy his cancer but also his stem cells that is why he must have the transplants to restore or rescue the bone marrow function specifically the production of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
Stem Cell Harvest
Over the next couple of weeks Sawyer will be given a specific drug which will cause his stem cells to move out of his bone marrow and into his blood stream. His blood counts will be monitored very closely and when they reach the appropriate level he will come to the hospital. There he will be attached to a specialized machine which will pull out his blood take the stem cells out and then put the blood back into him. (Think donating platelets, but more intense.) This procedure will not hurt him and will utilize the existing line he already has. The only thing he may suffer from is boredom. The process will take two days, eight hours each day and he will not be able to leave his bed. The good news is he will be able to come home at night in between. After the cells are harvested he will begin his third cycle of chemotherapy. His chemotherapies will be increasing in intensity from this point on, cycles 3 and 5 will be the same and cycles 4 and 6 will be the same. Each require him to have a large amount of fluids which is why he needs to be admitted.
Stem Cell Transplant
While we are just beginning to learn all the details of what transplant will entail we do know that it will take place between August and October which is not during flu season luckily. Each treatment will take between 4-6 weeks which Sawyer will have to stay in the hospital for the entire time. He will be able to go home in between but we are not sure when that will be and for how long. But during this time, he will be extremely susceptible to illness and infection.
We want to thank all of you for your help thus far, all of you have been so wonderful! But we don’t want to burn all of you out now because it looks like transplant is when we are going to need a lot of help.
Just a reminder about the Lurie Children’s Hospital Fundraiser 2018 Move for the Kids 5K Walk/Run don’t forget to donate to Team Super Sawyer!!
Thanks again for reading our posts. Please send good vibes and prayers to Sawyer and our family. We love you guys. Until next time!
Jen, Jeremy, Sawyer, & Calvin
3/4/2018 01:01:16 pm
Looking good Sawyer. Such a neat smile you have
3/4/2018 06:19:28 pm
Glad to see you looking so cool. Such a Super cool guy. What a neat hat! Love you so much. Can't wait to see and give you the biggest hug!
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We are Jeremy and Jennifer Hunter, the loving parents of Sawyer and Calvin(Sawyer's little brother). We firmly believe that it family always comes first and would like to keep everyone updated through this site and this blog on the treatment and care of Sawyer during his fight against Neuroblastoma.