Piia Pauliina
  • News, news, news!

    May 27th, 2010

    I had my PET scan on Tuesday at the Sutton branch of the Royal Marsden.  I also had some blood tests for the stem cell harvesting at their out patients unit.  I met Joy Brennan who will be my specialist nurse contact whilst a patient there, which means, once this stem cells transplant kicks off, I will no longer be a patient at the Chelsea branch.

    They also assessed my veins on Tuesday, as they will need to have two points of access for the stem cell harvesting.  To no surprise, my veins are rubbish, and I will need a new central line put in as apparently they cannot use my beloved PICC line for the harvesting.  I am going to get a ‘tunnelled central line’ also known as the ‘central venous catheter’ (please see the pic below).  The central line is placed under the skin in my chest into a vein close to my heart.  It takes about an hour to fit the central line and it is usually fitted under local anaesthesia.  This completely blocks feeling in the skin at the entry site (usually close to the collarbone) and at the exit site (usually in the upper chest area).  The entry site is where the line is inserted and the exit site is where one end of the line sits outside the body. I will stay awake during the procedure.  I may be given a sedative to help to relax.  The PICC will be taken out.  It will be strange not to have it anymore.  I have had it for so long, nine months or so.

    I have been ever so nervous about the PET scan results.  They had the meeting this morning and my doctor called me straight back.  I do not have a full remission; there is still a small area of active cancer at my chest where the original mass was.  However, it is so small that they have decided to go ahead with the stem cell transplant and high dose chemo.  So, no more PMitCEBO!

    I am a little disappointed that the cancer is still lingering there, but I am excited that things are finally moving on.  I trust their decision of going ahead with the high dose chemo.

    Everything has to move swiftly now as we know my cancer is aggressive and will grow again if no chemo is administered.

    I have a busy schedule ahead.  On Tuesday I will meet Dr Mark Ethell again followed by more blood tests and an ECG check up for the central line.  On Thursday I will have the central line put in.  Friday I will have the chemo drug Cyclophosphomide prime that will hopefully bring the stem cells out the bone marrow into the blood stream for harvesting.

    Then on Sunday I will take a train to Bristol for my 5-day retreat at the Penny Brohn centre, which I am really excited about.  The 3-day course in January made such a difference to my mood.  In there, I will start the GCSF boosters in aid to bring loads of stem cells into my blood stream.

    Monday the 14th they will check my bloods, particularly a molecule CD34 which quantifies stem cells.  If the count is adequate, I will go ahead with the stem cell collection.  If it is not, I have to go home to do my booster and return next day in hope the counts are high enough.  If they are not high enough by Wednesday, the stem cell harvesting has failed.  And, they have to look at other options.  Let’s hope my body will produce loads of this CD34!

    I will have to travel to Sutton a lot, which is a 2 to 2 and a half hour journey (one-way).  Sadly, all my appointments start at about 8-8.30am.  Loads of early mornings for me!  They suggested booking in a B&B near by, but that is not viable since I am on benefits, I do not have that kind of money.

    It is not quite clear yet exactly when I will be admitted in for the actual high dose chemo and the stem cell transplant.  It will either be the 23rd or the 30th.  I should find out later today.

    Tunnelled Central Line

3 Responses to “News, news, news!”

  1. Wow! That is a lot of news for one day! Really great that you have finished the PMitCEBO treatment, and are going ahead with the Stem Cell transplant shortly. X x

  2. Might be time for a fund raiser to get you that accommodation you need!!

    Best of luck for your next treatment. Thinking of you as always. The Stones

  3. Maybe MacMillan Cancer Support can help you with a one-off grant to help pay for accommodation whilst you are needing treatment in Sutton. Worth a try? It seems so silly that you would need to travel for such an extended period of time to attend appointments which would tire you out and put you at risk of other people’s bugs on crowded public transport.

    Here’s the link about the grants:


Leave a Reply