Johanna, my parents, Cindy and Brian showed up around 11 pm, since we had received word that the cells might be here early. It turns out they didn't show up until 1:30 am, so my parents snoozed for a bit while the rest of us chatted and watched Roscoe Jenkins on the hospital movie channel. We munched on the cupcakes Johanna had made for the event. The nurse was great and kept us up to date and fired up for the big moment. She even chilled some ginger ale for faux-champagne toasting!
The next we heard, the courier was waiting for a taxi from the SCCA and the stem cells arrived a short time later. They came in a normal, everyday picnic cooler. After cross-checking the paperwork and double-checking records, the transfusion was officially started. Everyone sang Happy Birthday and I opened a few cards from my family. My parents had brought a couple of balloons, so my mom tied them to the ends of the bed. We toasted with the ginger ale, took some pictures, and then everyone headed home for some sleep. Poor Brian has to be to work at 8 am tomorrow, so it was neat that he stayed up.
Even though it doesn't carry the weight of a big procedure, it's still an exciting and momentous event that has been in the works for 6 months now, from being diagnosed back in June, going through several rounds of chemotherapy and blood transfusions, searching for donors, finding just one out of 10 million that matched, and the rest of the events leading up to and preparing for this day. I'm just really happy that everything is going as planned, and especially grateful that the donor was willing to step up and do this and help save my life. Not only did she have to endure several medical tests and blood draws, she has been taking injections for the last several days to push her stem cells into her peripheral blood, then spent several hours yesterday morning hooked up to a machine giving blood. I'm so grateful for her for doing all that, and am trying to figure out what I want to say when I get the chance to write her.
Here are some pictures from the night's event :)