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I had a stem cell transplant - ask me anything

Posted by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 7:59 PM
  • 4 Replies

In July 2007 I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  I went thru chemo and was said to be in remission in 2/2008.  In June 2008 it was clear that the cancer was back.  My oncologist asked the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to take on my treatment since it had recurred so quickly.  I was a good fit for a treatment trial they were running so I was transferred to them in October, after a few months of standard chemo.  I had the transplant on 12/29/2008.

by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 7:59 PM
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JaimieLynn8
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 8:03 PM
How are you doing? Are you currently in remission? What was it like?

My father in law died of NHL almost 2 years ago :( He went through a ton of rounds of chemo to get well enough for a bone marrow transplant but never got better.
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pampire
by on Apr. 25, 2012 at 8:40 PM

I'm doing ok. My immune system is still in the rebuilding stage, so if I get sick, I'm sicker than a "normal" person and I stay sick longer. That made working a challenge, to say the least, so I'm back on SSDI for a while. But other than that, I'm good. I am in remission and after I hit the 5 year mark they will label me "cured"!

The transplant itself was really quick, it was just a 45 minute IV infusion after about a 10 day course of chemo designed to kill all my old bone marrow so I could regrow it from the ground up. I was allowed to go home the same day (b/c I was kind of pushy about it!) I went back into the hospital 3 days later wheh the "engraftment" kicked in because that felt awful!

MixedCooke
by on Apr. 26, 2012 at 2:03 AM

where did the stem cell come from? How is it supposed to help with your cancer risk?

pampire
by on May. 2, 2012 at 5:13 PM

The stem cells were my own.  Before the chemo I got injects of human growth hormone to produce extra stem cells.  They were then harvested in a process not unlike blood donation and stored unti time for the transplant.  The HGH made my bones ache, like growing pains as a kid but a lot worse.  It's also possible to get stem cells from a donor, typically a family member. (If you get that type of transplant they are a lot more medications you have to take.)   I'm an only child and we don't know where my dad is these days, so it was a good thing I was able to self-donate.  These is a slightly higher risk that I could get a different cancer down the road so I take all the steps I can to miniumize the risk - sunscreen being the #1 precaution I take.

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