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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Today, one year ago, I received my stem cell transplant in Room 1 of the BMT unit of Singapore General Hospital. The stem cell infusion started at 11:48am and finished at 2pm. 292ml of straw coloured liquid which has given me new life.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to my donor for his generosity, the doctors and nurses at SGH for their outstanding care, Dr. Raymond Liang in Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital for arranging for SGH to take me for transplant after Queen Mary’s in HK rejected me as “too high risk” and for his care during the past 6 months after Dr. Goh allowed me to come home. And to you, dear readers, who supported my family and me as we went through this year.

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Last Tuesday I had my transplant anniversary check up in HK Sanatorium. Yes folks, it’s been that long; doesn’t time fly by. Disease free at 1 year is really good, so fingers and toes were crossed as we headed to the hospital. Blood test, Chest X-Ray and Bone Marrow Aspiration, not my favourite procedure especially when Raymond is doing it. Raymond’s approach is to get in and out as fast as possible whereas in SGH they are very gentle. No prizes for guessing which I prefer. I did a quick count and I think it was my eleventh or twelfth in the past 3.5 years.

I am not allowed to eat or take any of my drugs until after the blood test, so my usual routine is to have the blood test, take the pre-food drugs, have the X-Ray and then head off to the McDonalds close to the hospital for a Sausage McMuffin with Egg breakfast. This time, however, Caregiver-in-Chief was with me and so we ended up in StarBucks instead. I didn’t think the food was any healthier but I’ve learned not to question the CiC in these matters. (And anyway, McD was full!)

After coffee and a bit of food we went back to HKSH and waited for the bone marrow procedure. It took about 10 minutes for the whole procedure which involves sticking a large needle into my hip bone, sucking out some marrow and then carving out a sliver of bone for analysis. Afterwards I had to rest lying flat on my back for 45 minutes to let any bleeding stop.

Blood is excellent, except my Potassium level is a bit high (mild Hyperkalemia). I have to stop eating bananas. There are so many possible causes I am not worried about it. Even the act of taking blood can lead to elevated potassium levels. My haemoglobin is holding above 11 nicely, my Platelets are right in the middle of the normal range, my WBC is normal. Creatinine continues to be high but is holding at a safe level.

Nothing to worry about on the Chest X-Ray.

The bone marrow is fine; no sign of Dysplasia, no abnormal Blast cells. The bone trefine results are also fine.

I am 1 year in and no sign of relapse. That’s really, really, good.

My drug load has had a minor change with the Prednisolone reduced from 12.5mg to 10mg per day. Raymond wants to stop the steroid before the New Year. Let’s see if the GvHD cooperates.

Afterwards our dear friend Joey took us to lunch at Amigo Restaurant. Great food and superb service. I felt that I had earned a reward for having  endured the bone marrow aspiration, so I had the lamb chops as did Joey; Linds had the sea bass.

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