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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

I started writing this on the plane back to Manila after my check up in Singapore last Wednesday. It took me some time to upload this because I was processing a lot.

The good news: All is well. My Haemoglobin is 11.4, the highest I have seen since the transplant, the WBC count is fine and Platelets are normal.

The whole day was just great. After the check up I had lunch at TWG in ION Centre, coffee with a former colleague whom I had not seen in years at the Tanglin Club, then met up with former Cambridge colleagues from Singapore, Bangkok, Japan and Korea for an Italian dinner; but it was also tinged with sadness. In Singapore this week was a friend whose breast cancer has metastasized so she has to undergo more chemotherapy. We chatted on the phone while she was at Mount Elisabeth and I was at Singapore General. She will get the treatment in Manila, she just wanted to check in Singapore if there were any better treatments available.

So here I am, getting past my sell buy date, bumbling along, should have died in March 2011, mild GvHD but doing pretty well after 14 months. And there she is, much younger than me, relapsed and about to undergo a truly horrific few weeks as they give her very aggressive chemo. And there’s also our friend Bo in Chicago, bravely fighting yet another episode of cancer with more chemo with some nasty, nasty, side effects. So I was feeling guilty at being happy, knowing that friends are suffering still. It didn’t help when I got home and Linds told me that another friend who we knew in HK and the UK, and who now lives in Spain has  been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

I know that I may face huge challenges in the future if the GVHD gets bad. I read about it in the support group forums, people who were fine for 2 – 3, even 8+ years, who suddenly developed bad GvHD. One woman wrote today that if she had known how bad GvHD could be she would never have had the transplant. But I don’t dwell on it otherwise I would be paralysed, unable to live my life, always fearful of what might go wrong. I’ll face it if I have to, until then I will lead as normal a life as I can.



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