I will be staying in Chicago at Northwestern University Medical Center with the Division of Immunotherapy and Autoimmune Diseases (DIAD). This is the only center in the world devoted to a unique area of treatment and research utilizing stem cell transplantation in clinical trials for autoimmune diseases and vascular diseases. DIAD pioneered and performed America’s first hematopoietic stem cell transplants to treat: Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Diabetes, Lupus, Crohn’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP), Phemphigus, Dermatomyostis, Devic’s, Myasthenia Gravis, Polymositis and Scleroderma.
Below is my Transplant Road-map to give you an idea of what I will be going through:
Phase I – Pre Transplant Testing
Week 1-2: Pre transplant testing – MRI, CT Scans, blood work, pulmonary function tests, etc
Week 2 : (Friday) I am admitted to the hospital overnight for chemotherapy – I will be discharged the next day after fluid hydration
Phase II – Mobilization
Week 3 : I will be outpatient and will be giving myself shots to grow my stem cells (neupogen) and my labs will be checked.
Phase III – Harvest
Week 4 : I will have my stem cells collected through a process called pheresis. This is usually done on Tuesday, Wednesday. When I am done I get to go home for a bit.
Week 5 : REST AND FAMILY
Phase IV – Conditioning/Transplant!!!
Week 6 : Thursday – I will be admitted back to the hospital for my transplant. The first six days I will be getting IV fluids, four days of chemotherapy.
Week 7 : I will get my stem cells – very similar to a blood transfusion.
Weeks 8,9 etc: I wait for my stem cells to grow and I have to stay in the hospital during this time.
I CAN DO THIS!!!