Stem Cell Infusion Day

Stem Cell Infusion Day



stem cells

In a previous post titled “Lab Rat #19”, I described my participation in a research study conducted at the Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center.

The study was the Phase One Clinical Trial of mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in patients with MS.


Well, lo and behold, my big day had finally arrived.

The day I would be infused with my own cultured & enhanced stem cells!



I got to my appointment early and was on hand to see the courier service, driving a white SUV,  deliver my cells.

OJ White Bronco


The vehicle looked strangely familiar to another famous white SUV.


“Oh God, this isn’t starting well,” I thought.





Stem Cells or a beer keg?
Stem Cells or a beer keg?


Technicians unloaded the container of my frozen stem cells onto a trolley and rolled it into the building.

It was a larger container/cooler than I thought.

Heck, I’ve drank from smaller kegs of beer!

“Wow, that’s a lot of stem cells–no wonder I lost weight,” I said.

“It’s not just your stem cells” said the tech.  “It’s filled with liquid nitrogen to keep the cells frozen.”



Hmm, too bad.  I was hoping with all that freezer space, they would have thrown in some ice cream or a microwave burrito!


The cells were then rushed off to be processed & defrosted while I was taken upstairs to establish an IV.



Used everything but Duct tape!
Used everything but Duct tape!


Now I’m not one for needles.  I can do shots fine, but drawing blood or getting an IV makes me crazy.

(I almost passed out having my finger pricked during a cholesterol test at the neighborhood drug store!)

The nurse plunged the needle into my forearm and I felt every drop of blood drain from my ginormous head.

If “Woozy” was one of Snow White’s dwarfs—he would have been me!

Luckily the chair reclined, so I laid back and breathed deep to regain my senses (what little I have).


Finally, it was time to begin the infusion.



Stem cells or chicken broth?
Stem cells or chicken broth?




The nurse carried in the giant syringe of stem cells.

Really?  That’s it?

“Are you sure those are stem cells?” I asked.




basting turkey


It looked like the very same baster my mom used on the Thanksgiving turkey!


I said to the nurse, “When I’m done, is my red thing gonna pop out?”



In earlier conversations about the procedure, my doctor explained the uncertainty of knowing exactly where the stem cells will go once they enter my bloodstream.



How to get from "A" to "B".
How to get from "A" to "B".



Helping medical research as best I could, I took it upon myself to help the stem cells find their way.


I MapQuested the best route from the arm to my brain.




Hope they can follow directions!
Hope they can follow directions!



Thus, in front of two doctors and three nurses…during one of the most important research studies in MS history, I held a sign directing the stem cells which way to go. 


What a shmuck.



The infusion took just a minute.

And now begins a period of frequent tests, MRI’s and follow-ups to chart any improvements or changes in my condition.


So far I haven’t noticed anything.  But it has only been a few days.


Whether for those of us with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or spinal cord injuries, I am positive this is a step in the right direction.

A baby step, but a step indeed.

I’ll keep you posted.







Used everything but Duct tape!
Used everything but Duct tape!


8 Replies to “Stem Cell Infusion Day”

  1. How exciting for you to be on the cutting edge of this research! Other than not accomplishing said task, is there any down side to this procedure? I mean if the stem cells get lost (although with your excellent directions, how could they?) is it possible for them to do any damage — grow another head, turn your skin purple? It sounds like such an easy procedure for such mammoth results! Anyway, I wish you all the best with this! Please let us know how it goes!

  2. Thanks for your participation in this trial which us MSer’s hope will bring us good news in the future. I glanced at the white SUV in the picture before reading the accompaning text. You stole my punchline…….I too thought that SUV looked strangely familiar to another famous SUV. Are you sure O. J. isn’t now working for a courier service?

  3. Thank you for being a guinea pig for the many of us who are not getting basted this week. Seriously, I hope this works out well for you!

  4. Sherri,
    Thank you. I agree, I hope this works for ALL of us!

    Side effects? growing a second head? Geez, I hope not. My head is humungous now. I can’t imagine holding up another gourd this one!

  5. Dear My Odd Sock,

    Thank you for agreeing to be a lab rat to help the rest of us!! And thank you too for writing about it so we get to laugh at you while you do it!

  6. Thinking about you and wishing you good luck and lots of prayers. Please let me know how it goes? Mary