Saturday, 30 November 2013
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
Monday, 30 September 2013
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Thursday, 29 August 2013
Now i am a self taught lymphoma and stem cell transplant professor ( for strangers reading this, i do not hold any qualifications and may be over estimating my knowledge a little).I wanted to spread some awareness of things that people don't know much about. Lymphoma being one of those and stem cell transplants being another.
So my aim is to demystify these things a little! i will start with finding donors for people waiting for allogenic stem cell transplants,
Bone Marrow Donors...... has that always sounded a tad terrifying? It did to me i have to admit but when i gave blood i was a brave girlie and went on the list. I secretly hoped that no one would ever ring me as all that; hospitals, general anaesthetics, bone drilling and marrow sucking didnt sound like my cup of tea. i was never called and now i've been chucked off the list as i am no longer desirable!
Now with a little knowledge and 11 years older i realise that being a donor isn't that scary after all! You just need to get on the list and then in all likelihood you
will never be called. If you are called you would be asked to have a further blood test to double check you are a match with the person waiting for a transplant. If you were and decided to go ahead your cells would be collected.
Bone marrow donors are the same as stem cell donors. The transplant i will have can be called a bone marrow transplant or a stem cell transplant. Traditionally bone marrow was removed directly from donors under a general anesthetic and actual bone marrow was removed via a simple procedure and that was infused to the patient. With advances in technology very very few collections need to be done by collecting bone marrow. The preferred method is collecting stem cells from your bloodsteam this takes 4 hours and no anesthetics or long hospital stay. You will have a daily injection of G-CSF (granulocyte colony stimulating factor) for the 4-5 days leading upto the harvest. I have these each chemo cycle and they are a pre filled syringe with a tiny needle ( like insulin needle ) that you can give yourself in your tummy or a nurse will come round and do if you prefer. I've never had any side effects but the ones listed are mild flu symptoms or leg pain, this is mild and may last for a a couple of days. The G-CSF encourages your bone marrow to produce stem cells and encourages them to be released into the blood stream so they can be collected easily.
On the day of collection you can eat and drink normally and go into hospital. you have a needle in one arm and a needle or a cannula in your other and blood leaves one arm and goes through a machine where it is spun, the stem cells go into a bag and the rest of the blood gets returned to your other arm. At any one time there is only 160 mls of blood out of your body and in the machine so you should feel fine although some people feel a little light headed. you have to sit still for 4 hours but are sat in a chair and can read or talk to a friend. When your 4 hours is up your free to go.......... that is it. You may have just potentially saved someones life!
Your stem cells are frozen in liquid nitrogen and defrosted on the day of the transplant, they are given to the patient over 40 mins and that is that ( i will cover that in detail next time)
I hope that sounds a lot less scary than my perception!
Less than 30% of people find donors within their families so rely on strangers. There is a 25% chance that each sibling you have may be a match however other members of your family are not tested routinely as not likely to be a match. Currently there are 400,000 people on the uk register and so far 8000 people have been matched and had transplants. If there are no donors found in the uk then an international search is done which looks at 12 million people on registers around the world. At any 1 time there are 120,000 people in the world waiting for transplants. ( thats the statistics out of the way!)
How do you get on the list ? In the UK the Anthony Nolan trust do an amazing job of recruiting and managing a proportion of the register. If you are between 16-30 and weigh more than 50kg you fill in a form online at www.anthonynolan.org they send you a pot you spit in it and post it back, and thats it your done you will stay on that register till your old! If there was a choice of donor younger people would always be chosen first so that is the age group the Anthony Nolan trust focus on.
Delete blood cancer are a new charity in the uk that are working alongside Anthony Nolan and can recruit people 17-55 onto the register. Again this is a simple process that involves a cheek swab. You can apply online and te swab is sent to your home to do and return www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk
The other way of getting on the the British Bone Marrow registry ( if you are between 18-50 ) is to go and donate blood ( at any UK blood donation site ) and when you do tell them you want to be put on the register and they will send an extra sample of blood and you will be placed on the register and stay there til your grey and old . www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/bonemarrow
Hope that helped to make it a little clearer?