Haifa – Stem Cell Collection
After we woke, we traveled to Shaare Zedeck hospital in Jerusalem to get a blood draw and meet our driver, Cobi. On our way to Haifa, we saw many towns, cities, farming, the Mediterraen Sea and a nuclear power plant. After the two–hour drive, we arrived safely at Ramban Hospital. It is located right next the Port of Haifa. We were dropped off at the Emergency Room entrance and waited for our two HSCT specialists to escort us to the stem cell collection quarters.
Michael quickly got settled to a hospital bed assisted by a wonderful assistant, Ely. The Hickman that was installed to aid in the process of removing blood and allowing the administration of medicine or blood into his body was not producing enough volume of blood outflow. So, to assist in the stem cell collection process, he had an IV line inserted.
The second port on the Hickman to allow the blood to flow back into his body worked without a hitched. So, there he was hooked up to this fascinating machine. First it takes out your blood and then it separates it into three lines: red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma. Stem cells are in the white blood cell layer of your blood and the machine collects the stem cells and returns the blood back into your body.
The stem cell collection procedure for Michael lasted about six hours. By the end of the day, he had a nice-sized back of stem cells with good color according to Ely. We would not know if he collected enough for the treatment coming; but we would know by about 10:00 am in the morning.
This bag of stem cells was harvested from 5 gallons of Michael’s blood. If there were enough stem cells collected for Michael’s transplant, Holly and Mike are going to Tel Aviv to get Holly’s hair done (bday present from Laura, so very much appreciated) and see the sea with Yana and Ira. If not; another trip to Haifa would be arranged and Holly’s hair will have to wait!