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  #1  
Old Wed Dec 9, 2015, 09:06 PM
Mellie Mellie is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Bone marrow donor

I just found out that I am a perfect bone marrow match for my brother. I am so excited to be able to do this for him. I am concerned because I am 66 years old and have had breast cancer. But if the doctors feel that I can still be a viable donor dispite my own health issues I feel honored to perhaps save his life. The opportunity to possibly save a life is amazing. What I would like to know is there anything I can do to make my blood better while we are waiting? Are there things I shouldn't do? Thank you for any information.
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  #2  
Old Wed Dec 9, 2015, 10:19 PM
Neil Cuadra Neil Cuadra is offline
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Mellie,

I'm sorry that your brother needs a transplant. But how great that you can be his donor. You're already a hero!

Transplant donor coordinators always stress that they must never put donors in danger, which means that they wouldn't have accepted you if there was more than a minimal risk to you. That means no more risk than for any other medical procedure. Actually, there's a possibility that some medical problem not previously known to you could show up when you donate bone marrow, and this risk increases with age, but it's still small. They probably would have picked a younger donor if one had matched your brother as closely. But there's nothing that you need to do about this. They allow older donors when it's a matched sibling. You're the best choice!

The rules for former cancer patients donating bone marrow depend on what type of cancer and what type of treatment, and even how long ago it was. The bottom line is that you qualified under those rules.

Your blood counts aren't really an issue. The most important thing for you to do now is to stay healthy. A transplant may be postponed, at great risk to the recipient, if the donor has signs of a serious cold or flu. Nobody can be perfectly safe from colds and flu without living in a plastic bubble, but the precautions are routine - lots of hand-washing, staying out of the way of people who are sick, careful food preparation, getting the annual flu vaccination, avoiding air travel if possible, and other common sense safeguards.

Is it definite that your brother will have a bone marrow transplant, or were you tested in case it comes to that? Have they already talked about when it might take place?
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  #3  
Old Sun Dec 13, 2015, 08:18 PM
Mellie Mellie is offline
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Donation

My brother went through the process of taking several drugs in the hospital and was sent home to continue taking a drug that is supposed to jump start his marrow. Unfortunately he developed serum sickness 3 days after he was sent home and went back and was admitted to the hospital for a 27 day stay where it was touch and go at first. He said that whatever he caught was a step below Ebola and was on the strongest drugs they could use. Now he is back home two weeks now and they have seen no progress yet but it is so early. He is currently getting 3 transfusions a week and 1 for platelets. He has a pick line in but I am not sure if that's just for the platelets. I am one of six children and Pete, my brother, he and his wife are very tight lipped and private about what is actually going on so I am not being vague on purpose. It's like pulling teeth from them for information. When I spoke with him last and he told me we were a perfect match he mentioned that he is hopeful with what they are doing now but knows this will never free him of this disease. He was very relieved to know I am on standby so to speak. He talked about the month in the hospital and the the year of recovery so I know he is seriously considering doing the transplant. I know since I am older it's not great so I want to boost my body by eating healthier for if the time comes I will be confident I've done all I can do to help him. Is that possible? I just don't want to go in like a big blob and say take what you want, I want to know that I have done all I can to have healthier marrow if and when the time comes. Can you advise me on what foods will do that?

Thank you so much for answering my post. Sorry I didn't respond earlier. We live in CA and have a home in Mexico and went down for a few days and we have no internet down there.
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  #4  
Old Sun Dec 13, 2015, 09:47 PM
Cheryl C Cheryl C is offline
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Donation

Mellie - you may want to contact the Complete Health Improvement Program. See https://www.chiphealth.com/ They should be able to advise you on how to maximise your health status. I know that in Australia they have helped a lot of people.
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Dx MDS RAEB 10% blasts + hypogammaglobulinemia, Sep 2011. Jan 2012 BMB - blasts down to 2% w/out treatment so BMT cancelled. Re-diagnosis RCMD. On watch and wait since Feb 2012. IVIg 5-weekly. BMB Feb 2014 - no blast transformation. 2018 still stable.
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  #5  
Old Mon Dec 14, 2015, 12:42 AM
Neil Cuadra Neil Cuadra is offline
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Mellie,

Healthful eating habits will contribute to your overall well-being, which is good for you and will help keep you healthy for the time when your brother needs you as a donor. But I don't know of any diet that makes your bone marrow better or worse.
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  #6  
Old Mon Dec 14, 2015, 07:21 PM
LeAnnD LeAnnD is offline
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Location: Livingston, TN
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MDS Rars

I was diagnosed in June 2015 with refractory Anemia with ringed sideroblasts and am considered low risk right now. My RBCs are the only cells involved at this time. I am told that this disease is an unstable one and that things can change abruptly. My question is that I have an identical twin sister who has agreed to be my donor for a SCT when it is time for one. Is there any information about GVHD with a twin donor?

Thanks for any help!
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LeAnn, diagnosed MDS, refractory anemia with ringed sideroblasts, cytogentics good
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  #7  
Old Tue Dec 15, 2015, 02:21 AM
Neil Cuadra Neil Cuadra is offline
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From what I've read, you're not totally immune from the risks of GVHD when you have a twin donor, but the risks are much much lower because you match so well. Identical twins have the same primary HLA antigens, and that's what determines a great donor match. But there are still minor antigens that differ. In fact, genetic mutations start occurring in utero, so everyone is unique at birth, even twins.

I haven't spotted any statistics on the difference in GVHD rates, but they are lowest in identical twins.
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