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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Update on My Cousin Tami's Stem Cell Transplant

Well today I have good news. Dare I say great? Tami was released as an in-patient and is now an out-patient following her Stem Cell/Marrow Transplant +20 days ago up at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She will still need to go to the hospital each day from her on-campus apartment but this is a significant step in her recovery progress.

It means the donor stem cells she received to replace her diseased bone marrow are working. They are making new blood cells and platelets. Woo Hoo!

It also means I've updated the Day by Day design of the illustration I post on her BLOG each day. As you can see above she is no longer in the hospital bed. YAY.

She still isn't smiling because she doesn't feel good but her Doctor keeps telling us despite how bad she's felt for the past 20 days (Mucositis, Graft vs. Host Disease, anti-rejection medications, transfusions, etc.) she is recovering very well and they are very pleased with her progress.

For more details on Tami's status you can visit her BLOG and peek through the past posts. Hopefully she will be smiling again soon.

The myth that donating is "excruciatingly" painful couldn't be more inaccurate and yet it stops countless people from joining the registry because they believe the myth is true :(

Did you know that 70% of marrow is now donated through the donor's blood? This is an example of how Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) donations work. This is how Tami received her donor stem cells. Her anonymous donor went through a 5 day process where he received medicine once a day to help his bone marrow over produce new stem cells that were released into his blood stream. They were collected and the rest of his blood was returned to him through his other arm. The stem cells were then flown to Seattle, WA where Tami received them via her Hickman Catheter.

The remaining 30% of donations are given through marrow extracted from the back of the pelvic/hip bone under local or general anesthesia so that the donor feels no pain during the harvesting process.

What may also be of interest to you is to know that in almost all instances if you are asked to donate marrow rather then stem cells it's because your donation is to help a child. Children experience a higher transplant success rate when they receive marrow.

If you would like to learn more about how you can become a potential bone marrow donor by joining the National Marrow Donor Program please visit Tami's website www.HelpingTami.org.

Or go directly to the "Be The Match" the foundation for the National Marrow Donor Program.

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited to hear Tami's progress! All the best o her and her family!


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