Polly Blom

First post: Feb 4, 2018 Latest post: Jun 19, 2018

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.I was diagnosed in November, 2017 with Multiple myeloma. After 4 cycles of RVD Treatment I will be having a Autologous Stem Cell Transplant/Rejuvenation starting March 1, 2018.
Information from Mayo Clinic on MM and Stem Cell Transplant process:

Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell. Plasma cells help you fight infections by making antibodies that recognize and attack germs. Multiple myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Rather than produce helpful antibodies, the cancer cells produce abnormal proteins that can cause complications. It's not clear what causes myeloma. Doctors know that myeloma begins with one abnormal plasma cell in your bone marrow — the soft, blood-producing tissue that fills in the center of most of your bones. The abnormal cell multiplies rapidly. Because cancer cells don't mature and then die as normal cells do, they accumulate, eventually overwhelming the production of healthy cells. In the bone marrow, myeloma cells crowd out healthy white blood cells and red blood cells, leading to fatigue and an inability to fight infections. The myeloma cells continue trying to produce antibodies, as healthy plasma cells do, but the myeloma cells produce abnormal antibodies that the body can't use. Instead, the abnormal antibodies (monoclonal proteins, or M proteins) build up in the body and cause problems such as damage to the kidneys. Cancer cells can also cause damage to the bones that increases the risk of broken bones.

An autologous stem cell transplant uses healthy blood stem cells from your own body to replace your diseased or damaged bone marrow. An autologous stem cell transplant is also called an autologous bone marrow transplant. Using cells from your own body during your stem cell transplant offers some advantages over stem cells from a donor. For example, you won't need to worry about incompatibility between the donor's cells and your own cells if you have an autologous stem cell transplant. 

Autologous stem cell transplants are typically used in people who need to undergo high doses of chemotherapy to cure their diseases. These treatments are likely to damage the bone marrow. An autologous stem cell transplant helps to replace the damaged bone marrow.

Undergoing an autologous stem cell transplant involves:

- Taking medications to increase the number of stem cells in your blood. You'll receive medications that cause your stem cells to increase in number and to move out of your bone marrow and into your blood, where they can be easily collected. Filtering stem cells from your blood (apheresis). In order to collect your stem cells, a needle is inserted into a vein in your arm to draw out your blood. A machine filters out the stem cells and the rest of your blood is returned to your body. A preservative is added to your stem cells and then they're frozen and stored for later use.

Undergoing high doses of cancer treatment (conditioning). During the conditioning process, you'll receive high doses of chemotherapy — to kill your cancer cells. 

Receiving an infusion of stem cells. Your stem cells will be infused into your bloodstream, where they will travel to your bone marrow and begin creating new blood cells.After your autologous stem cell transplant, you'll remain under close medical care. You'll meet with your care team frequently to watch for side effects and to monitor your body's response to the transplant.

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