Saturday, May 23, 2009

Stem Cell Transplants

Isabella had her stem cells transplanted back into her today. These were the stem cells that were harvested from her from the last couple of months. I've learned a lot over the last few months and added a few more things on Saturday as I watched her get the procedure.

Stem cells in general are special cells that can divide and turn into other types of cells. The peripheral stem cells that she received can turn into any type of blood cells. This is different from embryonic stem cells which can turn into any other cell including spinal cord or brain cells and the cause of many passionate debates. Once the stem cells are transplanted, it takes about 11 days for them to travel through the blood stream and to the bone marrow in her hip where they will hopefully implant themselves and begin dividing to create new blood cells.

After her stem cells were harvested, they were frozen and stored away. They added a preservative to the blood increase the viability of the cells while they are stored. When the patient is ready to receive the stem cells, the blood is thawed and put into a giant syringe and pushed through a central line (in this case, through Isabella's port). While the blood was being transplanted into Isabella, an interesting thing happened. Even though the push is happening through the port, Isabella got a very strong, weird taste in her mouth. This common occurrence happens because of the preservatives in the blood. The taste was so strong, that for the 10 minutes that the blood was being pushed, Isabella got extremely nauseous and vomited and had to spit several times. The doctors warned us of this ahead of time and we were prepared with lollipops to try and negate the taste, but it only helped a little. The really weird part to watch was that within a couple minutes of the syringe being emptied, Isabella felt better and perked right up.

So for now, we'll remain in isolation for at least a couple more weeks. Isabella is still feeling pretty sick from the chemo, but hopefully, those symptoms will start clearing up soon. Her appetite has been ok, but she hasn't been able to keep anything down, but they are pushing nutrition through her port.

Below are some pictures from a visit from Annalise and Grandpa.


  1. Isabella you are a fighter and now more than ever fight!! Know that we are all sending our prayers and love to you and your family.

  2. Hi Isabella,

    You are always in our thoughts & prayers. Be strong! We all love you! We’re always looking forward to read your Dad’s blogs everyday.

    Auntie Victoria (Toronto, Canada) and all of your Dad’s relatives in Manila & Aklan, Philippines.


Feel free to leave a message for Isabella.