Tomorrow morning the doctors are taking Jackson down for surgery to place a new apheresis catheter in his leg. The catheter will only be in for a little while (up to 5 days) while they collect Jackson's stem cells. Basically it will be like when you donate platelets- they hook you up to a machine and suck the blood out of you. Then they spin the blood, and keep the part that they want and put the rest of the blood back into your body. This process is called "apheresis". They will be doing this to Jackson to try and harvest 15 million white blood cells from Jackson to freeze and use later during his Bone Marrow Transplant.
His catheter will be similar to this, but since he is so young/small they are putting his catheter in his leg and using his femoral artery.
Jackson will be going through 3 rounds of Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) after his 6 weeks of radiation therapy. During the BMT he will get chemotherapy that will kill off all of his bone marrow, then because it will be all gone, they will give him new marrow back. There are two types of BMT- one that uses a third party donor, and one that uses your own cells. Jackson will be getting the one that uses his own cells. This will help his own blood counts come up faster and he will also avoid the rejection that often happens with traditional BMT. Because he is getting his own marrow back, they have to do the apheresis now to harvest his stem cells.
I know- it's confusing. I don't know if what I typed makes any sense at all, but I'd be happy to explain it to any of you if you corner me and ask me about it.
Tonight I'm asking any/all of you to pray for Jackson to do well during the line placement- he'll be awake for the entire thing and I think he may panic a bit. I am also asking you to include a prayer for his little body to produce LOTS of white blood cells so that he doesn't have to have the apheresis catheter in for more than one day.
As soon as they get 15 million white blood cells we get to come HOME! Hooray! I can't wait to have my entire family back under one roof again.