Tony: They harvested my stem cells. And I don’t know how y’all felt when I still got a scar right here on my arm where they put it. You got one too.
Desiree: I got donor cells. So I didn’t use my own.
Tony: Okay. Well, they harvested mine and put a pick line to my abdomen, pick line to my heart and pick line the chest. And they cycled all the blood in and out of my body, two and a half times. And everybody says, man, what’d that feel like, that hurt? I said, well, it didn’t hurt, but it’s a different feeling.
Jackie: It’s like a big dialysis machine, right? That’s what I had.
Tony: I told them I could feel it running through my toes, like a little stream running through my toes. It didn’t hurt. It’s just weird.
Jackie: I don’t think I really felt anything. I had like a big octopus looking thing in my jugular vein. And I had to have that for, I don’t know. I was walking around Chicago with this thing on my neck, I went to a pizza place.
CHEMOTHERAPY AND EATING
Jackie: My hospital stay was about four to five weeks and they gave me really intense chemo to, just like you were saying, to wipe out my body completely clean of the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. So my immune system was like at zero.
Tony: Right you were neutropenic.
Jackie: Yes. And we’re actually, I know both of us, we were in a room that was reversed isolation.
Desiree: Yes, so was I.
Jackie: Okay. So they were like pulling the air out instead of pumping air in. And I wasn’t able to eat certain foods.
Desiree: Yeah, neutropenic.
Jackie: I don’t remember the diet exactly.
Desiree: So you can’t have like fresh fruits or veggies. You can’t have anything raw. No raw meats. No raw.
Jackie: Yeah. They were saying like-
Tony: You two were lucky enough, y’all got to eat. I couldn’t get my mouth open. I couldn’t eat nothing.
Desiree: I couldn’t really eat, I drank a lot of Ensure.
Jackie: I just wasn’t very hungry. That’s why they gave me the Marinol to increase my appetite.
Desiree: My mouth had like sores and stuff in it. I couldn’t eat.
Jackie: Oh, really?
Tony: That’s messed up.
Jackie: That’s weird that you had different symptoms from the stem cell transplant than I did.
SHOTS IN THE STOMACH
Jackie: And so it’s called bone pain when they’re trying to increase it really fast so that my immune system could get back up there. So I gave myself a shot, a Neupogen shot. Did you have to do that?
Desiree: No, I think I just did Lovenox shots.
Jackie: Okay. Yeah. Well, I guess in the hospital, I didn’t give it to myself.
Tony: God bless yourself, you didn’t have to take those Neupogen shots.
Jackie: Yeah, well I did. So it’s a shot in your stomach, as he knows, and it makes you increase your white blood cells really, really fast. So your bones, though, don’t expand and the white blood cells are expanding really fast, you know, in your bones. So you get this horrible, horrible bone pain, the worst pain. I’ve had two babies, the worst pain you’ve ever, ever had in your entire life. And mine was in my low back. Where was your pain?
Tony: I really didn’t from the Neupogen. I really didn’t experience anything other than having to take the shots in the stomach with a needle about the size of a telephone pole, it felt like, you know. I mean, it was extra-
Jackie: He might exaggerate a little bit.
Tony: Just a little bit, but it was a huge needle.
Jackie: Maybe I don’t remember. I couldn’t see very well.
Tony: I remember very well. It was huge.