The Allogeneic Stem-Cell Transplant Chat

Posted on December 14th, 2009 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

Today I had a meeting with the head of Haematology at Royal Perth Hospital, Dr Julian.  Dr Brad sent me to him to talk more about the likelihood of another stem-cell transplant as a way of putting me into remission.  The transplant we talked about was one that would involve someone else’s stem cells.  Both Rachel and Carmel have been tested and they are not a match, so the donor would be unrelated (Matched Unrelated Donor – MUD).

I have met with Dr Julian before, and after 40 minutes of him telling me how risky the process was, I decided I would not go ahead with it.  Today really didn’t change things.

Carms came with me as one who would provide an objective ear and medical background.  I went as one who has a subjective predisposition and medically battered.  We both left feeling the same.  In the past, I have been wary that I may be refusing medical treatment based on my emotions on any given day.  There comes a time also when the mind gets tired of treatment before the body does, and my mind has been there too many times.

In saying this, I am not discounting the possibility that a stem cell transplant from someone else may not be on the cards in the future, but I would have to be completely on my last legs and sporting a ‘whatever!’ attitude.

The risk is that the new stem cells would essentially give me someone else’s immune system.  This is a good thing in regards to fighting off the myeloma cells, but it could also attack my own body (Graft Versus Host Disease GVHD).  This often results in poor quality of life and risky complications.

On the positive side, there may be other drug options that are available when this Velcade becomes less effective or available.  I left feeling fine about the options given, apart from none of the options involving cure.  I have not even contemplated the possibility that someone may come up with a cure for this one during my lifetime.

I scratched myself today and started to bleed.  It was the first time I looked at my blood with contempt and thought, “This is all your fault”.

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