Tuesday, 26 October 2010

options and stats

I got a call today from a, well, to be honest I can't remember what she called herself, but she works in the stem cell bone marrow department of somewhere. Or something.

She said that she wanted some more blood from to get my exact stem cell match. Or something. I explained I was back in hospital on Sunday night and where I would be and she could have as much as she wanted then, but I wasn't making the effort to go to my cancer unit just for that. She understood and is arranging for one of her blood-leaching minions to come and see me next week.

She seemed pretty clear on my case, so we had a chat. She explained things slightly differently (doesn't bloody everyone) but she seemed to know what she's talking about, so here we go.

Once I've had my 2nd E-SHAP treatment, they will take the CT/PET Scan and one of three things will happen

1. No change, enlargement or new tumour - well, that's is probably that, but we knew 'that'.

2. Near complete remission - unlikely but possible. If there is huge response then I will have the stem-call treatment but I will use my own bone marrow after the nuclear chemotherapy that destroys everything. Obviously this would be a safer procedure as there are no rejection issues.

3. If all tumours have gone into remission (some shrinkage), then I will have the same procedure but need a bone marrow donor. I really haven't read up about this yet, as I see no point but I do know it's more complex as a) you need to find a donor and b) even if you do find a match, there can be 'rejection' issues. I'm used to being rejected, so I think I'm in a good position here.

Some interesting stats

1. Globally only 10% of people who need a stem cell donor find a match
2. That's because ...

a) donating bone marrow to go on the database is bloody painful in the first place, so unlike blood the database isn't that big (more later)
b) There are very few (relative) non-white caucasian people on the register. People like myself are far more likely to find a donor, so don't let the 10% phase you too much.

However ...

The lovely lady I was speaking to said 'I do have your basic type here, because we took initial tests back in early September. We need more blood to get a more detailed match, but I can do a initial search for you to see how many people might be donors globally'

'How many people are on the database?'

'About 14 million'

'OK...run it through'

'OK, I'm showing 81 possible matches'


'Well, at least that's some. Quite often I get zero'

'81 is more than zero, there is that'


So there you go. Obviously I'll keep you posted with more info on this stem cell bone marrow thing should it become a viable option. I just don't want to read too much right now, as I'm trying to not project too much.

Had a brilliant day at work yesterday, really good to see everyone. Today was complete stress - the aircon unit in the server room went down AGAIN and most of my day was chewed up with that. Despite all the end-users somehow not needing a thing for three week, seem to all of sudden not be able to open documents without my help. Really weird. Anyway - reminded me of what a normal shitty days work was like.

I have just come back from speaking at AA an and I recorded in on a dictaphone. I will be presenting it on this blog for all to listen to in the next couple of days. It's about 30 mins long.

Until then ...

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