Friday, August 21, 2009

Post #6 - There's Always Something

I didn’t think I’d be posting to this blog until just before leaving for Germany on September 13 but a problem needed to be dealt with.

Yesterday I received a phone call from my XCell Center contact who wanted to discuss the findings of my recent blood test. The blood test, conducted locally on August 10, was required by XCell as part of the preparations for my upcoming stem cell therapy. The test results were faxed to the clinic in Germany for review by a physician to determine if my blood was “healthy” enough to provide an adequate volume of stem cells. The physician’s evaluation was then sent back to my contact.

In the words of the reviewing physician, “In face of blood test values that are in the lower range of justifiable conditions, I am approving this patient now, but there is still some probability of lower crop of stem cells harvesting. This should be told to the patient.”

It seems my test values - especially the white and red cell counts – fall below the “reference (normal) range.” Apparently those low blood counts imply there is a “chance” not enough stem cells can be harvested for an adequate transplant. While he didn’t actually say so, I got the feeling I was being offered an opportunity to either postpone or cancel the treatment, or at the very least, was being prepared for less than superior results should the procedure take place as scheduled.

I immediately contacted my GP for his interpretation of the test results. He was kind enough to call a hematologist colleague who advised that while the cell count numbers were on the low side, my hemoglobin numbers were close to normal, which may help in the availability of sufficient stem cells. I was also told there is no quick way to increase blood counts. So – a decision had to be made: a)cancel, b)postpone, or c)proceed as planned.

After several hours of weighing the pros and cons of the situation – I have decided to go forward with the September procedure. In the meantime I will work with my GP to raise my values should the need arise for a subsequent procedure. I feel this decision is based on logic and common sense - not on emotion or exaggerated hopes. Nevertheless, it is still one made with no small degree of anxiety.

Added 8/24/09 Another reason to go forward with the procedure occurred to me after this message was originally posted on 8/21. The blood for my test was drawn on August 10 - minutes before I got my monthly B-12 injection. It stands to reason that my blood count probably went up into the "normal" range- but only after the blood was drawn for the test. If I had gotten the injection on August 9 - the test results would have undoubtly been higher. So - I plan to get my next B-12 shot a few days before heading off to Germany with the hope that my levels will climb into the acceptable range - thereby enhancing the outcome of the procedure.

Also added 8/24/09 To insure a good outcome, Fran has begun a one-woman crusade to boost my levels by preparing and serving me iron-rich foods. She started last night with a big helping of liver smothered with onions and bacon. I can feel my levels going up already!

More to come soon. Thanks for your continued support,

Steve S.
SW Florida


  1. Steve and Fran, I am asking God to bless you with a safe journey, a successful medical procedure and lots of fun sightseeing.

  2. Hang in there... it's so difficult to navigate this. Rooting for you...

  3. Praying for you............good luck !!!!!!!!

  4. My wife and I leave for Germany this Sat. to take our 4yr old daughter Ella who has CP. I hope you see some positive results real soon. We are dreading the long flight from NJ and leaving our other 2 girls. We hope the trip is worth it. Good luck to you.