The wait usually is a week to 10 days after the cells are collected before the transplant is done. Kinder said they had visited Barnes on a Friday and were on the way home when the hospital called to schedule the transplant for the coming Tuesday. More doses of strong chemotherapy took place in an effort to kill the cancer cells in Kinder’s body before the transplant.
The actual transplant itself didn’t take long.
“I was sitting in the chair when the nurse came in with her cooler,” Kinder said. “She said, ‘Ready to do this?’ and took out a package about the size of a napkin. That was my stem cells. After they had thawed, they hooked me up, and the whole process took about 4 minutes.”
After the transplant, Kinder’s blood counts took a nosedive. He was required to stay near the hospital. Ava stayed nearby in Hope Lodge, a facility operated by the American Cancer Society.
The procedure was done June 5. After 10 days, his blood counts began to increase. Kinder was allowed to go home on June 25. During the weeks at Barnes, he was allowed to walk around and even go outside while wearing a mask. Any infection in the early days after the transplant could have been fatal.
Both spoke about the progress being made in cancer research and how Rick’s outlook is much better than someone who contracted mantle cell lymphoma a decade ago.
“People should know the donations they make to cancer research do make a difference,” Ava said.
Now the Kinders concentrate on Rick staying healthy. He still tires easily, but his hair has grown back and his smile shows often.
“He has been a textbook case since the beginning,” Ava said. “He was a male, over 60 with no symptoms until the cancer had reached an advanced stage. And he has been a textbook case during the treatment, too.”