Isita will start her stem cell harvest on Tuesday. The second viral load test came back yesterday and confirmed that she is free of the adenovirus. Nevertheless, she will continue to have the brincidofovir anti-viral drug to prevent any return during the stages of high-dose chemotherapy when she has no immunity.
The schedule is as follows. Over the next few days she is having daily injections of the GCS-F hormone which stimulates stem cell production. On Monday, she has a small operation under general anaesthetic to insert a vascath in a vein in her groin. This is the tube which will connect her to the apheresis machine, which is a bit like a dialysis machine, but which separates the stem cells from the red cells and plasma in her blood.
If they don’t get enough stem cells on Tuesday, they may continue the collection on Wednesday but normally that isn’t necessary. On Thursday, they will do another MIBG scan – the one which checks whether any metastases have reappeared since the last time she had chemotherapy. If we are all clear, then the high dose chemotherapy will start on Monday 3 July. Otherwise we revert to plan B. This means we have one more week during which Isita can get out, come home and have a bit of fun before the treatment gets heavy again. We are going to make the most of it.