Today I am day 148 post transplant. I had my transplant on 29.11.12 and left hospital on 23.12.12 and since then I had only had to stay in hospital for a week and that was due to having a fever and being sick a few weeks after I was discharged. Hopefully I don't have to go to hospital to stay ever ever again! After 8 months of being in there it's great to know. I have to go to hospital for weekly blood tests to check my blood levels and to be monitored. As I had my brothers stem cells there is more of a chance that the transplant will be a success, but you don't get 'the all clear' until after up to 2 years as problems can occur. (hopefully wont!) From my blood tests I am having there are no leukaemia cells which is amazeballs.
If my doctors are happy and my blood tests are clear. Then it's a great week for me :).
I still have a long way to go but take each day as it is and enjoy my life to the full.
Stem cell transplants are complex procedures that carry significant risks of serious complications. Generally risks are reduced if:
- you are young - studies have shown the younger you are, the more likely the treatment is to succeed.
- you receive a donation from your brother or sister.
- you have no other serious health conditions.
Luckily all above relate to me so the risks of having a transplant are reduced. Before having the transplant the doctors did weigh the risks of living with leukaemia and the risks of having the transplant and the best option was transplant.
I was told if i didn't have the transplant I would have 2 years to live.
In some cases, the transplanted cells (graft cells) recognise the recipient's cells as 'foreign' and try to attack them. This is known as graft versus host disease (GvHD) and it often occurs following stem cell transplantation.
There are two types of GvHD, they are:
- acute GvHD – which usually happens during the first three months of the transplant
- chronic GvHD – which develops from acute GVHD and can cause symptoms for many years
Chronic GvHD can develop anywhere between three months and two years after the transplant. The symptoms can persist or they may come and go for many years. They can range in severity from mild to life-threatening.
Luckily I have had no sign of this. I have been on cyclosporine which are anti-reject tablets, this reduces the risk of GvHD.Although my doctors are slowly reducing the amount of cyclosporine I take as my body will rely on the tablet if I continue to take it.
I have to take daily tablets and will do for the rest of my life. The tablets I am still on are penicillin, cyclosporine, aciclovir, septrin and anti-sickness when I need it.
I see myself as being well and recovered but my body is still suffering and not fully recovered from having treatment and chemotherapy. I have to take pain killers a lot because my body aches If i do too much walking etc, theres so much I want to do but my body can't cope, I think this is because I was in a hospital bed for so long and didn't walk a lot. Now I am more active it is going to take time for my body to regain strength. I also have to be extra careful in the sun, as I have really sensitive skin after having chemotherapy & radiotherapy. This means I have to wear a high high factor sun cream when I am out and about.