Auto stem cell transplant: What can we expect for timing?

Posted by zellheff @zellheff, Sun, May 26 10:16am

My son (26) is going to have an auto stem cell transplant for relapsed lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He is currently undergoing pretreatment chemo – they anticipate 2 or 3 rounds will be needed to get him in remission before extracting stem cells.

A question. I’m trying to get a better handle on timing – and the variables that can affect timing. For those who have been through this – what was the time period between when a decision was made for you to have a transplant – and having your stem cells removed? Were you given a window of time for all this to happen, or were you told that specific steps needed to happen in a specific schedule?

How long in the hospital?

Thank you for your insights.

Hi @zellheff, I'm bringing a few other members into this discussion; @javajude @jeaniecm and @njnana may have some insights to share about what to expect with an autologous stem cell transplant. You ask great questions about timings and scheduling the procedure and how long your son might be in the hospital.

Zellheff, How is your son doing with the preteatment chemo? Has he had one round already?

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I wish I could provide information to help, but I have not reached the point of needing a stem cell transplant (although I have discussed with my oncologist and am willing when needed). I have the same type of lymphoma as your son, so please keep us updated with his progress. Good luck to him! I will keep your family in my prayers.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @zellheff, I'm bringing a few other members into this discussion; @javajude @jeaniecm and @njnana may have some insights to share about what to expect with an autologous stem cell transplant. You ask great questions about timings and scheduling the procedure and how long your son might be in the hospital.

Zellheff, How is your son doing with the preteatment chemo? Has he had one round already?

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Hi – he has finished one cycle. He’s doing okay – except for fatigue. He’s working some while going through treatment – which is what he wanted to be able to do. The anti nausea drugs work well for him. Needless to say the whole thing is pretty stressful…

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Is this his first time having chemo treatment? If it is, remind him to avoid areas of germs since the treatment compromises the immune system. If he has done this previously, it's just a reminder. My youngest child was 26 this month. I have dealt well with my personal lymphoma diagnosis and know that it affects the entire family. Your son is very lucky to have you. Keep on advocating for the best care for him, and when in doubt, never hesitate to ask any questions — no matter how odd your question may seem to you.

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Thanks for your reply! He was diagnosed in 2017 – went through treatment first with Rituxan and then RCHOP. Was in remission- but activity showed up with his 6 month PET scan. Docs at Mayo and Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center strongly recommending stem cell transplant.

He handled the RCHOP just fine.

Hope you are doing well!

Liked by njnana

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Sorry I can’t be much help now since I haven’t had my SCT yet but I can share the information I have. I am scheduled for my pre transplant testing July 23
( said to expect 4 days for this) then my SCT procedure which includes my stem cell collection then the transplant to begin on Aug 22. My Dr said to expect a 6 week stay for this. Mine is being done outpatient. Since we do not live near Mayo we have reserved an apartment at the Charter House for our stay.

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Hi @zellheff and I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I had an autologous SCT for non Hodgkin lymphoma and can give you some details.

Once he gets into remission, he will begin 10 days of therapy to bring his stem cells out. After day three, until he reaches the needed count, he will go for a blood test.
Harvest day usually happens 7-11 days, but varies by individual.

Once cells are harvested, he will be admitted to hospital for induction therapy. This is intensive chemo to kill off all white cells, this takes about 7 days including rest days. Then his infusion will occur and he begins the climb back up. Once his immune system has recovered enough, he can go home…usually 3-4 weeks after infusion.

At home, he will still need to recover. I would anticipate at least three months and then slow return to activity. Of course each cancer center has its own procedures and this timing assumes there are no infections or complications.

I reiterate the need to be extremely, extremely careful about infection. He will be rebuilding an immune system. Think paper towels instead of dish towels; sani-wash on dishwasher; no restaurant or deli foods; no one with sniffles or skin infections in the home; hyper cleaning with bleach, and so on. Avoiding infection is key to success. Best of luck to your son.

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@ckeys

Hi @zellheff and I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I had an autologous SCT for non Hodgkin lymphoma and can give you some details.

Once he gets into remission, he will begin 10 days of therapy to bring his stem cells out. After day three, until he reaches the needed count, he will go for a blood test.
Harvest day usually happens 7-11 days, but varies by individual.

Once cells are harvested, he will be admitted to hospital for induction therapy. This is intensive chemo to kill off all white cells, this takes about 7 days including rest days. Then his infusion will occur and he begins the climb back up. Once his immune system has recovered enough, he can go home…usually 3-4 weeks after infusion.

At home, he will still need to recover. I would anticipate at least three months and then slow return to activity. Of course each cancer center has its own procedures and this timing assumes there are no infections or complications.

I reiterate the need to be extremely, extremely careful about infection. He will be rebuilding an immune system. Think paper towels instead of dish towels; sani-wash on dishwasher; no restaurant or deli foods; no one with sniffles or skin infections in the home; hyper cleaning with bleach, and so on. Avoiding infection is key to success. Best of luck to your son.

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Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. We are trying to prepare as much as we can. Your info helps!!

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@zellheff

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. We are trying to prepare as much as we can. Your info helps!!

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Lymphoma and Leukemia society have some great resources, too.

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@zellheff

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. We are trying to prepare as much as we can. Your info helps!!

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My husband had two ASCT at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the first one we were there 10 weeks total, the next time 11 months later we were there a few extra weeks since his bone marrow did not recover as quickly. We stayed in an extended stay type lodging and this was done primarily outpatient, however he did spend a few days admitted with each one. The admissions were right in the station where he saw the same nurses he saw everyday, and this allowed them to get all the things he needed in him in an IV since he was having a lot of nausea. My best friend had exactly the same experience with one ASCT at Mayo. I can answer more detailed questions about the process but my husband has a different disease. I hope and pray you have the same great experience, and get great results.

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