Three years ago on August 30 I received my stem-cell transplant.
Fortunate to find a perfect match unrelated donor, I was admitted into the hospital on two occasions, each for about three weeks to prepare my body for the transplant through rounds of chemo and radiation. The first time was in late July, followed by a week at home, and then back in on August 25. With all my bone marrow completely wiped out of me, I received this sweet package (pictured). It took 45 minutes to get the stem cell into me through the Hickman line, and then the donor’s cells were ready to go to work. Stem cells can become any cell that the body needs. It immediately identified that my body was in need of bone marrow and within a few days it started rebuilding those cells. As the marrow started regenerating, it began creating blood. Those first few days required a lot of transfusions. By September 19, once my immunity had built up well enough (i.e. to the levels of an infant) I was discharged. From there it was a matter of staying healthy, keeping fit and staying positive. And hoping for the best.
Today my blood is three years old. This is the big milestone, where I set my sights 38 months ago. That was when I signed a paper acknowledging I understood that men in my age group undergoing that procedure survived 40% of the time after three years. I was going to be in that 40%.
There have been no significant complications and my doctor informed me that at this juncture, given my test results, I have a 90% chance of living a full normal life expectancy. I wrote a lot about the early days of my battle, beginning June 11, 2017 here: https://darryldobbs.com/category/the-battle-against-mds/
It was a long battle. Pretty easy over the past year, very difficult over that first year. But I have come out the other side feeling better and more fit than ever (bottom right image). Thank you everyone for being there when I needed it.