I have been in and out hospitals, having my life sustained with blood and platelet transfusions, since late January 2015. I am just finishing up my first leg of a Bone Marrow Transplant Journey.
Initially the doctors suspected leukemia and after a hospital to hospital transfer to Mayo from Fairview Southdale for additional guidance and expertise, I was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia (a disease in which the bone marrow, and the blood stem cells that reside there, are damaged, causing a deficiency of all three blood cell types: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.) My bone marrow had simply quit doing its job. I was being kept alive by generous donations of blood product.
Because I was not producing white blood cells, my immune system had been compromised. I spent the winter separated from my loving family to protect me from the many bugs that run through a larger household.In March of 2015, I went through one round of ATG (chemo) to try and kick-start my bone marrow and immune system. This treatment was not met with success. The next step for our family was to prayerfully consider a risky and costly bone marrow transplant (BMT).
Knowing the risks that accompany a BMT, we did move forward and with God’s grace, my sister Monica was a perfect match and she was delighted to share her gift of life with me.Day zero, they call it, or my second birthday (BMT day) was June 16th, 2015 and it appears to have been a success. My body is now creating its own cells and cell counts are beginning to fall within the normal range. I have suffered setbacks and complications along the ‘marathon’ of a BMT, but my Severe Aplastic Anemia is cured.
I will continue to doctor at Mayo under close supervision for the next several years, as the BMT journey is long and the risk of mortality is still present due to complications that can and do arise post BMT.