Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Go Back into the Water

It is Tuesday afternoon and I am sitting in the pheresis center at Penn having stem cells sucked out of me by a machine that hums like a car engine via a catheter that was just placed into my neck. The procedure itself is painless, but for the next few days I’ll be walking around with some tubing hanging out of my jugular looking like 50% of Frankenstein. Does anyone have a turtleneck I can borrow? Below is a photo of the catheter that went in my neck.

To prep me for this procedure, for the last 5 days Jacqui has been giving me shots (in the arm) of a drug called Neupogen that stimulates the over-production of stem cells in my marrow to the point that they are free flowing in my blood stream. Once harvested, the stem cells will be preserved for the transplant, which is now scheduled for January 2. Happy New Year Michael!

While this all stinks, we are in the final stage of delymphomatization, and by the end of January this “speed bump of life” will be behind us. Despite the hair loss, neutropenic fevers, puke-o-meter, long hospital stays, and just generally feeling like poop, this has all been worth it. My lymphoma is gone. How cool is that? And all I can think about is holding my beautiful little Sophia, my hair curly and long, my arms strong, and my mind clear and chemo-free.

7 thoughts on “Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Go Back into the Water”

  1. The NP service at HUP (especially Brenda and Colleen) think your baby is beautiful and wish you Congratulations! We also hope you are doing well!


  2. Your vision of your hair “…curly and long, my arms strong….” sounds like we’ll need to call you Michael “Fabio” Yudell.


  3. To the previous blogger who mocked my longing for my hair after losing it to chemo I have this to say: only Neil Schwartz, who has a pair of white tassled loafers tucked into his closet could have written such a thing.


  4. Yeah, that tubing in the neck thing seems like a drag. I take it you will not include it in the “highlights of my stay” section of the Penn Hospital comments card?Will you also be growing a beard to go with the long, curly hair/strong arms Brawny Man look?AviBTW- Sophia and Jacqui look great…


  5. I was just about to write something nice to you Muke but after reading your earlier post I’m feeling rather insulted. If you must bring my past into the present, I may have to do the same for you. In due time, my friend, in due time . . . . Neil (sans any white tassle loafers)


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