Rory Gardiner's Webpage

04, Aug, 2009

Tuesday 4th August 2009


Rory received his stem cells today.  It was a pretty frightening experience.  The stem cells were his, harvested back in April.  The stem cells were stored in a bag with a preservative, which is frozen in liquid nitrogen.  The preservative is very strong, and a lot of children are very sick or have allergic reactions as a result of it when their stem cells are returned.  The stem cell transplant occurred at 11.30am and I felt nauseous as it was happening, not knowing how his body would react.  We were lucky.  He was asleep and the stem cells infused in 10 minutes.  He started to wake towards the end of it.  He had been given morphine, hydrocortisone and anti-histamine so he was quite disorientated and confused.  He vomited a few times, and then dozed off again.  As a result of the preservative his breath smells strongly like creamed corn.  This may last a couple of days. 

Rory is receiving high dose (intensive) chemotherapy.  This destroys healthy blood cells as well as cancerous ones which makes him highly vulnerable to infections.  Stem cells are powerful, highly versatile cells that can develop into every type of tissue within an organ. In the case of the blood system, all of the immune cells, platelet-producing cells, red blood cells and other infection-fighting white cells are generated from blood stem cells.  Therefore returning Rory's harvested stem cells to him, and injecting him with hormones to stimulate them into action, 'rescues' him from the chemotherapy.  It can take 2-4 weeks before these stem cells generate enough new infection-fighting blood cells - which is a long time for Rory to be without protection from infection.

Rory has slept for much of the afternoon as a result of the combination of drugs and the lack of continuous sleep over the last five nights.  I think he has had enough of the treatment and being confined to this room.  He is irritable and angry this afternoon which is not like him.  Hopefully the IV fluids will stop tomorrow and he will be discharged to Ronald McDonald House.  He was a lot perkier this morning, and has eaten and drunk a little.  A lovely parcel arrived from Dianne and Ricardo and we have put the pictures of Yoda on the wall.  It was great to talk to Uncle Guy last night and catch up on the news.