We use the information we gathered during your initial appointment to carry out your treatment plan.
Preparing for your transplant
To prepare for your transplant, you will undergo several tests to discover the types of stem cells you need. You will receive chemotherapy with or without radiation to fight your disease and to prepare your body to receive the new stem cells.
After receiving a preparative therapy of chemotherapy with or without radiation treatment, your ability to fight infections will be compromised. You will need to wear a special filtered mask when you are outside your hospital room and home. You will also need to follow a special diet to control your risk of infection from the foods you eat.
We will monitor you closely throughout your transplant and recover to address any complications.
If you are are to have an autologous transplant, we will give you injections of a medications called growth factors with or without chemotherapy to stimulate your stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the blood stream. We will collect your stem cells in a process called apheresis. During apheresis your blood is removed and spins through a machine that will separate the stem cells from the other cellular components of your blood like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. After the stem cells are removed the rest of the blood is returned to you. Apheresis takes about 4 hours per day and may be carried out over 1 to 5 consecutive days. After the stem cells are collected, they are taken to the laboratory for freezing.
Before receiving your stem cells, you will receive a preparative therapy of chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy. The dose of chemotherapy can range from very low doses to high doses. The preparative treatment is used to eliminate your cancer cells and create space in the bone marrow for the stem cells. The preparative therapy may be given over 1 to 13 days. You may be treated in the hospital or through an outpatient clinic in the cancer center.
One to two days after receiving the preparative therapy, the stem cells will be infused into your body. You should begin making new blood cells 2-3 weeks after the transplant. The recovery of the blood counts is a milestone called engraftment.
The first sign of engraftment is a rising white blood cell count. You will begin to feel “normal” about 3 -6 months after transplant, but full recovery may take a year or longer.