posted Jan 6, 2015, 8:52 AM by Melissa Clark
updated Jan 6, 2015, 8:57 AM
I was diagnosed in June 2013 with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia which is typically treated with targeted chemotherapies via pill form. However after a year of failed treatments, most likely due to a rare double mutation in the DNA, my only choice for treatment, and chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant. A transplant patient and donor are matched through a protein called HLA. It’s much more complicated than typical blood typing. When looking for a match, siblings are tested first. However each sibling only has a 25% chance of being a match, despite having the same parents. When my sister, Liza, was tested, we found that she was a perfect match. Unfortunately for most patients, only 30% of the time is there a match in their family. For the rest, the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry is their only hope.
A stem cell transplant is the typical form of “bone marrow transplant” now. I entered the hospital on August 20th, 2014, and received Liza’s stem cells on August 28th (Day Zero). The crucial recovery period is the first 100 days after Day Zero. As I’m considered “out of the woods” now, but am still recovering and tapering my medications, I wanted to help raise awareness about blood cancers and give my hometown community an opportunity to become a potential donor.
I have a blog where I chronicle everything about my journey. The emotional ups and downs; medical helpful hints, things people don’t like to talk about, and basic life thoughts. The address is http://keepingmylight.wordpress.com.