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Introduction to site from a recipient

In may 2014 I shall be 2 years post stem cell transplant.
In the Autumn of 2011 routine blood tests discovered a low platelet count. These tests continued into the new year (2012) all the time the platelet levels continued to fall, the platelet count at this time was in the region of 15-14. A bone marrow test was done at the local hospital in February which confirmed bone marrow failure. I was quickly referred to the local cancer hospital haematologist where further bone marrow tests were done and which confirmed bone marrow failure (hypoplastic myelodysplasia).There were also platelet transfusions at this time as parts of the skin were showing signs of bruising and levels were continuing to fall.
Treatment options were discussed, the only viable option for a long term cure being a stem cell transplant.
This option was fully explained as was the need to find a suitable donor.
I have a twin sister, blood samples were taken from her but she was not a suitable match. At the same time a search was underway with the Anthony Nolan register for a potential donor.
I'm pleased to say a donor with an exact match was found very quickly. I was told the donor was a British male aged 25 years. He remains anonymous but we have exchanged letters.
I am very grateful to this young man and the many thousands who make up the register and a re prepared to help people with life threatening blood disorders.
There followed many tests in preparation for transplant, x-rays, lung function test, heart ultra sound scan and a visit to the dentist. I had to have a tooth extraction because of a root canal issue and to reduce the risk of infection after transplant.
My transplant was set for mid May 2012. We were given lots of information through local and national publications, all of it useful but scary and daunting with the prospect of weeks in isolation pre and post transplant and months of recovery.
I should say at this point I went into this process feeling well and strong. I had little or no symptoms other than a little tiredness I certainly didn't feel unwell. I was working, self employed and enjoying what I did. I gave up work two weeks before transplant and have now fully retired, with many interests including voluntary work.
I was admitted to the local cancer hospital a week before transplant for the conditioning process and had a further three weeks in isolation to avoid the risk of infection.
This time in hospital is worthy of a chapter on its own and hopefully I will return to the subject.
The process leading up to transplant is a difficult time but can be lessened with support of family and friends and with full and frank discussions with the medical team, do ask questions to be to be kept fully informed.


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