To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Side Effects of Tami's Chemo and Stem Cell Transplant

So here is what Tami, and anyone who receives a marrow or stem cell transplant faces during recovery:

Temporary Side Effects:
These are often caused by the pre-transplant chemo and other medications given during the transplant and post-transplant process. Tami is currently receiving over a dozen types of medicine. At one point our friend Roger was receiving over 30 types of medication so just imagine the potential side effects that would cause. From mild to severe/serious the intensity varies from patient to patient. A patient can also suffer from more then one side effect at a time. Doctors will attempt to minimize any discomfort or pain with additional medicines and treatments.

• fatigue
• nausea and vomiting
• diarrhea
• low blood count
• mouth sores
• rash
• sore throat
• loss of hair
• changes in skin pigmentation

Possible permanent side effects include:

• Cataracts
• Infertility

Graft vs. Host
One of the most serious complications post transplant for all patients is a condition called Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) and usually appears somewhere around +100 days post transplant. What this means is that the patient's new donor stem cells sees the patient's cells as foreign bodies and proceeds to attack and eradicate them.

I've read online that the closer the match the less likely this condition will occur. Since Tami received a 10/10 match this means she is less likely to suffer from Graft vs. Host then if she had received a 9/10 or 8/10 match.

The effects of GVHD can be mild to fatal.

The areas of the body most commonly affected are:

• The Skin
• Liver
• GI Tract
• Mucous Membranes

Medicine that helps suppress the immune system post transplant gives the new marrow a chance to take over and helps to prevent Graft vs. Host. Eventually this medicine is tapered off. When GVHD does occur these medicines may be tapered off sooner to give the donor cells an opportunity to flourish and fight back.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

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