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Becoming a Hybrid Human…

Let’s get ready to rumble!

I am booked in as a patient, the consent forms have been signed, and the chemotherapy is up- I have officially begun Bone Marrow transplant prep!

It’s a little scary I have to admit. Though it’s obviously more daunting for me, I imagine many of you will be quite innocent to the transplant process, so I’ll try and break it down best as possible, so you get some of the things I will be talking about in the coming weeks and months!

The most important news first- I have a match!!!!

Of course I wouldn’t be stating the transplant process if they hadn’t found m a match, but the decision has been up in the air between different donors, and I didn’t find out the outcome of the decision until yesterday morning.

I am so incredibly grateful to this anonymous Spanish person, that I may never know who is doing such a big thing for me. Words can’t explain how much I feel I need to be able to thank them, because I will literally have their blood in my veins!

To start, did you know these things about transplant?

  • A bone marrow transplant, unlike the transplantation of organs, doesn’t require an operation. The actual transplant itself is seen as the easiest part in fact! Receiving the cells, is an infusion much like having platelets.
  • If the donor of the cells has a different blood group, the recipient’s blood group will change! My own donor is the same group as me, B positive- so my blood will stay the same group (just different genes!)
  • As mentioned, my blood will be completely ‘new’ after the transplant! It will have the genetics of my donor, so a genetic comparison of a cheek swab and a blood test after transplant would come up as different people. As my consultant says, I will be a hybrid human from now on!

A bit more insight on me….

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I have reached a new level in boredom…

Today (Saturday 17th) is day -10 on my transplant protocol, meaning I have ten days until I have the transplant. This is made up of 2 days of chemotherapy, then 4 days of radiotherapy, then 2 days of monoclonal antibody therapy, then a rest day, then a day to start the anti-rejection/immune suppression drugs..’.Then FINALLY the transplant itself!!!

It’s going to be a bit of a long slog- once I’ve had the transplant I’ll remain in isolation for between 3-6 weeks afterwards, and I will have to semi-isolate myself from people for at least the first 100 day after the transplant. Hopefully, when I reach 6 months beyond, if I don’t show any signs of GvHD (graft versus host disease) I can have my immunisations as soon as possible, and go back to normal. Even if I’m not quite right, and am having GvHD- which is the graft battling against my own cells and causing issues, I’ll be well within the next few months.

This treatment will keep this pesky, evil cancer away for good- the rest of my life is so worth doing this for! Though I know it will be hard work, I am looking forward to getting it done, being done with side effects. The monoclonal antibody therapy is known to cause fevers and rigours, and is nicknamed ‘Shake and Bake’ so I’m looking forward to getting that behind me.

I am super thankful for all the support so far and am pretty bored (and I’m on day -10) so please send me blog post suggestions, links your own blogs, funny clips on YouTube and cake recipes (?!)

Once I reach Day 0 of transplant (the day I have the transplant) I will be doing the #100daysofhappiness challenge, to document my journey up to day +100

From the 27th I will be Welsh outside, Spanish inside…and I can’t wait! Perhaps I will discover a passion for flamenco, or suddenly be able to catch a tan, instead of remaining my ghostly speckled self…..

Keep smiling!

Emily