Bone marrow donor issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 01-23-2005, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have posted here a few times. I have had a rough 8 months or so. My aunt was DX with Acute Myelogenous leukemia at Christmas and has been through a round of chemo. Her only chance for survival is a bone marrow transplant. My dad and his brother are going to be typed to see if one is a match. Here is my issue - My dad has had 3 heart attacks (all 8 years ago) and has had bad reactions to general anesthesia (the cause of the first heart attack). He is 56 years old. I am afraid that if he is a match that he will die because of the procedure. I lost my mom suddenly 7 1/2 months ago and cannot lose him now. I lost my mom, grandpa, and great grandma all in the last 8 mos and have nightmares frequently about losing someone else. I know it is all irrational, but I am still working through it.
Has anyone donated bone marrow or been a donor? Tell me about the procedure. I know the medical part of it, but I wnat to talk to someone who has been there. Thank you all.

Larissa, mom to my 3 girls (07/10), (05/02), and (09/98)
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#2 of 12 Old 01-23-2005, 10:42 PM
 
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I haven't donated, but I'm on the list. My guess is they won't let him donate if he has a problem with a general. Maybe they could do a local/epidural instead.

I hope it all works out for everyone. I'm sorry about all your losses.
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#3 of 12 Old 01-23-2005, 10:55 PM
 
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I was very close to donating a number of years ago. I had all the pre-interviews and got all the info. At Stanford anyway, they were offering me a choice of a general or an epidural. That said the transplant teams care as much about the health and well being of the donor as they do the recipient. I underwent the most thorough physical in my life including, if memory serves, a treadmill test/ EKG thingie. I am certain that someone on the transplant team would be happy to discuss this with you until you are satisfied.

Also... don't borrow trouble... you don't even know if he is a match yet. One day at a time.
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#4 of 12 Old 01-24-2005, 03:26 AM
 
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My husband donated bone marrow in July of last year. He had to go through numerous blood tests as well as a complete physical to make sure he was in good health. If your dad has heart problems and has had bad reactions to anesthesia, I doubt they would allow him to be a donor. Although the procedure is not extremely risky, they don't like to take chances with people who are not in perfect health.

As far as the procedure goes, DH was in a lot of pain afterwards. He could hardly walk at first, and was in pain for maybe 2 months. He said it was a lot more difficult than he expected it to be, but he is perfectly fine now and is glad he did it. The incisions were tiny, but he does have two scars where they put the needles in to extract the marrow. The best thing is that the recipient is doing great and is alive today because of the bone marrow transplant.

I can totally understand why you are scared of losing your dad. I can't even imagine going through as much loss as you have recently. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. If you have any more questions about donating bone marrow, feel free to ask me and I'll find out from DH. We still have all the paperwork and everything too, so if you need to know anything specific, I can probably find it.
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#5 of 12 Old 01-24-2005, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all sooooo much. Your responses have helped me in processing this. My aunt meets with a transplant team in Gainesville in a couple of weeks and we will know more then. They know my dad's history. My only guess is that they are looking at other possibilities that do not require general anesthesia. My uncle is not in great shape either - he is 350# and diabetic. My dad is the healtiest of them all. He has been doing well since the heart attacks - he has been going to chelation therapy since the angioplasties did not work. He is not very fond of mainstream medicine. I know it is not an issue yet, but there is a 25% chance of him being a total match and a 50% chance of him being a half-match. I want to see my aunt recover (her daughter is 21), but I also don't want to be left without both parents. It is such a struggle.
Thank you all!

Larissa, mom to my 3 girls (07/10), (05/02), and (09/98)
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#6 of 12 Old 01-24-2005, 08:02 PM
 
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When DH donated, they did give him the option of only having an epidural and not going under general, but they recommended general just for his comfort. If your dad ended up being a match, he wouldn't have to have general anesthesia, especially if he had a bad reaction to it before. I hope everything works out for your aunt and your dad too!
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#7 of 12 Old 02-20-2005, 07:02 AM
 
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#8 of 12 Old 05-23-2005, 08:44 PM
 
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Hi-
I realize I'm posting a few months after everyone else, but wanted to add my 2 bits:

My sister became ill with (and unfotunately also died of) acute myelogenous leukemia last summer. When marrow donation was still considered an option to save her, her doctors were saying that the procedure would likely be done by aphoresis. In aphoresis, they stick a needle in one arm and take out your whole blood, then they run it through a machine that takes out the stem cells, and return the rest of it to you. It is a quite minor outpatient procedure, and probably represents much less of a threat to an older and more fragile person than the more traditional "harvesting" methods. As I understand, this aphoresis is preferred in more and more cases, though it's selection ultimately depends on the oncologist's judgement of the patients's needs.

good luck to you and your family.

Melinda
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#9 of 12 Old 05-24-2005, 10:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BohoMama
Hi-
I realize I'm posting a few months after everyone else, but wanted to add my 2 bits:

My sister became ill with (and unfotunately also died of) acute myelogenous leukemia last summer. When marrow donation was still considered an option to save her, her doctors were saying that the procedure would likely be done by aphoresis. In aphoresis, they stick a needle in one arm and take out your whole blood, then they run it through a machine that takes out the stem cells, and return the rest of it to you. It is a quite minor outpatient procedure, and probably represents much less of a threat to an older and more fragile person than the more traditional "harvesting" methods. As I understand, this aphoresis is preferred in more and more cases, though it's selection ultimately depends on the oncologist's judgement of the patients's needs.

good luck to you and your family.

Melinda
My mom did this kind of stem cell transplant when her brother had leukemia. It was very easy on her, like giving blood. Not the kind of thing you need general anasthesia for.

I hope everything worked out well.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#10 of 12 Old 05-24-2005, 11:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Update:
My dad is not a match nor is his brother. They are moving to a stem cell transplant. She finished her chemo for now, but her platelets are VERY low. They are giving her a 50-50 chance of surviving the procedure. We will wait and see...

Larissa, mom to my 3 girls (07/10), (05/02), and (09/98)
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#11 of 12 Old 05-25-2005, 10:45 AM
 
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Yes, my mom had to do a stem cell transplant and a platelette transplant for her brother. I sure hope everything works out. At least it may be easier to find a match because with the stem cells they don't need the same blood type.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#12 of 12 Old 05-28-2005, 02:03 PM
 
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Hugs to you all, it's not easy.

The best I can say from one who's "been there" (though not as a donor) is that you need to do whatever you can to keep grounded in the present moment and help the patient do the same if you can. The rest, unfortunately, is cheap philosophy.
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