(19-02-13) Stem Cells

Earlier this week, Dr. Godinez broke down some information about the stem cells that I’m getting. I found it rather fascinating, but in the midst of vaccine side effects, cat smuggling, and a friend visiting, I never got around to sharing what he told me.

When they take my blood, the lab is able to isolate different components in that blood: hemoglobins, erythrocytes, plasma, lymphocytes, neutrophils, and platelets. This is important because different blood components are responsible for doing different things in the body – like fighting infections (white blood cells), transporting hormones (plasma), or carrying oxygen out of the lungs and into the body (hemoglobins), to name a few. So, depending on what I need on a particular day or with a particular vaccine, the lab will isolate that blood component. From there, they incubate and feed it for days (up to 8), where it replicates itself … so basically it’s growing in both size and strength. After the incubation period, these stem cells are injected back into my body, where they can then work side by side to battle the cancer cells. Nothing artificial is added to my blood. No chemicals are needed. Just a blood draw, a lab space with suitable technology, and an adequate incubation period gives my human cells super hero powers.

That’s pretty fucking dope.

Blood isn’t even the only way they are using stem cells here. Last week, they came in and did a culture swab of my vagina, and Dr. Smith told me that, in the last couple of years, Dr. Rubio has figured out a way to use cells from a womyn’s cervix to create stem cells for breast cancer. See, the cervix and the breast both contain the same kinds of hormones, and many breast cancers (like mine) tend to latch on to at least one of those hormones (my cancer cells bind to estrogen, which is why it can so easily come back even after I successfully complete treatment… because my body continues to produce estrogen on a regular basis). So, creating stem cells from my cervix provides a heightened opportunity to go in and fight hormone-receptive breast cancer cells.

Does anybody else reading this suddenly want to go back in time and pay more attention in science class? Geeezus.

Author: breastcancerat35

I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Invasive Breast Cancer in October/November, 2015. This blog is my way to process my experience and allow my loved ones to have ongoing updates about my journey.

7 thoughts on “(19-02-13) Stem Cells”

  1. Thank you for sharing this walk with us. The medical information and your daily strolls. I am trying to get my sister to be more involved and aggressive in her cancer therapy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked science but this is a little over my brain cells. It’s very confusing but so cool and when you think about it all, it all makes sense. I am amazed how you can even remember all this to write back about. I mean how do you do that?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. @lindaausburn – Full disclosure, I had to go on Google this morning to get some of those terminology words because I only remembered three of them. The concepts are easier for me to remember because the doctors do a great job here of breaking it down for me, and then I repeat things back to them to make sure I understand. It’s like going to class for ten minutes a day. They are brilliant doctors, scientists, AND teachers here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. @crystallanning – Not indefinitely, no. Battling cancer will be a lifelong journey for me, and I will have to come back here for maintenance weeks every 3-6 months for a while, then yearly.

    Like

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