Archive for the “l” chronicles

stem cell transplant: fast facts

What are stem cells?    

Stem cells are the basic building blocks of life, the basic cell from which our bodies are made. They are formed at conception and specialized to become all the different tissues of the body: muscle, nerve, organs, bone, blood and so on.

When do we use our body’s stem cells?

We tap into our body’s stem cell reserve to repair and replace injured or diseased tissue. Unfortunately our reserve is finite and as it becomes depleted, the regenerative power of our body decreases and we succumb to diseases, disorder and the ravages of aging.

What is stem cell transplant?

A stem cell transplant is the infusion of healthy cells to replace diseased or damaged ones.

How important is stem cell transplant to leukemia patients?

Cancer, particularly leukemia, is an important disease for stem cell transplants; bone and peripheral blood stem cell transplants have been used for decades. A patient receives chemotherapy or radiation treatment to destroy the cancer cells but unfortunately, healthy cells are also damaged. A stem cell transplant can replace the lost and damaged cells with fresh, functioning ones, which can then provide the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets that are important to metabolism, clotting and immunity. The other benefit of this treatment is that the newly formed white blood cells can further improve immune function such that they destroy any remaining cancer cells in the marrow.

What are the risks?

Stem cell transplants still have several risks associated with the procedure. Some people will find they experience few issues while others may require consistent monitoring and repeated hospital stays. Some of the complications that can occur with a stem cell transplant are:

  • damage to organs or blood vessels
  • graft versus host disease
  • Death

Thus, although some people will experience few complications, others may find they suffer from short and long-term problems associated with a stem cell transplant. The success varies widely and it is impossible to predict who will experience side effects and to what degree they will occur.

In most cases, the benefits of stem cell transplants will likely outweigh the risk of complications and these techniques can truly be life-saving for conditions such as leukemia and aplastic anemia. It is hoped and anticipated that future research can yield successful therapies for a broader range of diseases.

http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/WhyPerformStemCellTransplant.html

photo credit: http://www.bcro-asia.com/home.html

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Coming Soon….

photo credit: http://www.makna.org.my/images/Allogenic.gif

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a year ago….

……this broken guy was readmitted at the St. Luke’s Medical Center Cancer Institute for another round of treatment because his first attempt to have remission from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) failed. his spirit was  tired but still, he was keeping a hold on his Savior’s hands, clinging to the one last hope that he had.

………the time when I’ve, finally, after hanging on for so long, decided to  slowly accept things as they are, opened my heart,  to one painful truth—that things of the past stay as things of the past even if you imagine and prayed hard that they revert back to the present and that some people leave our lives never to come back anymore.

……when someone came into my life and things were never the same. she made things light, she made things easy, the sound of her laughter, the joy in her eyes, the sound of my name in her mouth, everything was different. i had my reservations, though, not wanting to hurt her, not wanting to give more than what i should, and yet she understood and stayed with me making my journey bearable.

……so many tests, more blood letting, IV drips, bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, medicines of different types,  sizes and colors, endless antibiotics—and then finally—at UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center—-my prayers were answered—-i got Remission!

…..i can’t believe its been a year….God has been so good to me. I’m still on remission and presently preparing for a needed transplant. i’ll spike a fever once in a while, i’ll feel some discomfort, i’ll feel some fatigue at times–but hey i’m breathing! i’m alive—-in God’s grace!

…….one more thing: that someone is now my rainbow! (one more reason to feel really happy with this journey!)

……i’m loving this life and i look forward to more years ahead! wuhuuuuuu!

GOD is indeed GOOD……..All the time!!!!

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this morning….

i woke up feeling some discomfort in my stomach but instead of taking my medicine, i decided to just stay in bed, curled and cold.

i was discharged from the hospital yesterday. was admitted due to an allergic reaction to trimox, an antibiotic treating my gall bladder infection

all of a sudden the reality of my “remission” hit me like a rod. remission only means the absence of the disease’s activity, it does not mean that the leukemia is gone. AML is still lurking somewhere in my body.

i felt so stupid trying to act as if everything will go back to normal if i try harder when i know that things will never be the same again.

remission was my body’s response to the treatment. if i remain in remission for a few years, it is possible that AML might be cured. Time is the crucial and determinative factor.

my recent tests showed that i’m still on remission and that my body is still responding positively to my medicines but…………. its not the same—every now and then i’ll get infection, there are things that i still can’t do by myself and i have 20+ medicines (5 of which are injectables) that i need to take every day, blah, blah, blah–i need not go into specifics.

to achieve long term remission, stem cell transplant was recommended by my oncologist. and as we are preparing for it now, i can’t help but feel the pressure. i’m just happy that my doctors are honest and that they listen to what i want to say. they respect me and they give me options so i can make my own choice.

i was told that relapse in AML is common and that all AML patients in remission must jump into the next phase of treatment based on the patient’s risk factors. in my case, the next phase is the transplant.

its hard to be positive when your body’s aching. but i know that if i stay being “negative” i will only make things difficult.

today, i felt the mistrust, the loosening of my hold in His hand—maybe because i’m tired, impatient, stubborn and wanting to do things my way.

but God is continuously showing me His great love—from the sunlight in the morning to the simple things that makes me smile. i just knew that even if sometimes I feel like giving up on God, He will never give up on me.

so i think i had enough of these rantings. time to take my breakfast and medicines and spend a little more time with someone who made things more bearable for me, who brought back the bright colors into my life and the reason why i have this wide 😀 on my face right now.

i wanna live one day at at time—-trusting my Jehovah Rapha every step of the way.

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not a relapse…good grief

i was at the onco clinic this morning. i’ve spiked a fever for three days straight and had some nose bleeding episodes so my blood was checked for possible infection.

after an hour the verdict came. yes, i have infection but cbc is still good,  no leukemic blast, wbc and rbc both normal. so in general, i’m still on remission. the “relapse” theory was thrown out of the window. good grief.

the “supposed-final-schedule-for-my-sct” will be moved (again) to a later date. no idea when, but definitely not this month.

and the oncologist is honest enough to tell me that: 60% of patients who receive SCT gets cured. however, the remaining 20% don’t survive the chemo, the routinary IV medications and radiation leading up to the transplant. and the other 20% dies due to complications they develop after the transplant. this reality hit me hard and i began to wonder, would i be at the 60? the first 20? the last 20? all of a sudden, uncertainty’s coming into the picture.

but then I know that His ways are higher than mine. He knows what’s best for me and that i just need to continue entrusting my life to Him–my Jehovah Rophi.

so…….. i’m pressing on still, keeping the faith and trying to be patient (he he he)

again, i want to say thank you to those who remembered me on my birthday. a Big sweet hug to all of you. God is so good and His mercies never come to an end.

by the way, i got this “cake” for my birthday:

definitely, the sweetest gift i got. thank you so much. you are definitely sweeter than this one. i’m so sure of that. wanna bet? wink!

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quick update

Got the results of my bone marrow biopsy last week. I’m still doing good. Thank God!

I’ve spiked a fever a few days ago, was given liquid paracetamol and now doing and feeling great!

SCT preparations are still in progress.

I’m done with my appointments with the dentist, dermatologist and eye doctor

I’m pressing on and keeping the faith as I hold on to God’s promises while enjoying His countless blessings

I sincerely appreciate all the prayers, comments, kind words, sms, emails and e-cards that I’ve been receiving from, mostly people i hardly knew. thank you so much for appreciating this blog, for believing in me and for joining me in this journey

I’m  holding on to “my rainbow after the rain” and I’m not letting go!

God is so good! 🙂

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You Know Better Than I

To you my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—I re-dedicate my life

Have your way in me

Your will be done!

(thank you to pastor eric maliwat for giving this song. God bless po)

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