I HAD A LYMPHOMA/ 32. SHIRLEY"S HIGH DOSE/STEM TRANSPLANT STORY.

SHIRLEY ADDS ANOTHER EXPERIENCE.

in Hub 31, I recounted the information given by Brian of his High Dose/Stem Cell Transplant back in 2001.Brian had been located under the Lymphoma Association"s "Buddy" scheme and it was to them that I returned this week to request a further introduction if possible to a patient who had undergone the Treatment a bit nearer to 2011 than 2001.

The Association promptly researched and linked me to SHIRLEY, having first ascertained that I had no objection to discussing matters with a female. I found their question a little quaint in these times of equality, but I suppose there may still be some who cling to older stereotypical standpoints. Perhaps, I could be forgiven here for stating my personal views which are that I have no time at all for the current equality fetish that is making fools of both genders. I believe that quite simply that women do certain things better than men and vice versa whilst there are other things that both can do equally well. I regard it disrespectful to women for example, to have female only lists for standing as an M P,just as it is equally ridiculous to assume that there are not women perfectly capable of being Board Directors in Industry and Commerce. The current craze for legislating on these matters is lunacy to my way of thinking.

 In my experience women are perfectly fit and equipped to fight their own corner and it is patronising to have artificial boundaries set for inclusions. I have met male idiots in Boardrooms and some female ones also! Equally, the reverse obtains and why indeed should it not? Having to battle for recognition never hurt anyone and, in my experience women can be just as tough as any male should they so decide. Equally, on things cerebral, there is not a jot of difference brought about by gender as far as I have ascertained and thus, a female perspective on the proposed treatment had every bit the same interest to me as that of any male.

Shirley, also had Non-Hodgkin"s and diagnosed as B-Cell as had Brian, and it bore out that my T-CELL, as I had been told was the rarer of the two types, though both are more relevant in over 60"s. Shirley was 69 in 2005 when she had her Treatment at KINGS Hospital in London.Broadly, her hospital programme was as discussed previously and confirmed by Brian.

My major interest was to ascertain Shirley"s personal experience of the treatment and, as with Brian ,she was openly frank about things. As with Brian the logistics of Stem Cell Harvesting and return had proved no problem. In Shirley"s case neither did the immediate effects of the High Dose. It was only following the return of the Stem Cells that there was an adverse reaction which chiefly affected her throat and tongue during the 10 days of engraftment, this being the term used for the cells returned, grafting themselves to the damaged{by high dose] bone marrow, then growing together and commencing to start working normally once more and eventually return the blood count to a safe level.Shirley suffered at this stage, being unable to eat or drink for 10 days and requiring sustenance via drip feeding.This, plus great feelings of tiredness were the worst aspects encountered and she was able., like Brian to return home after round 3.5 weeks in the Hospital, the latter part in isolation.

Shirley was refreshingly frank, as one who now runs a Kent support group, on her views of the treatment. Basically if asked on leaving Hospital whether she would have done it knowing what she then knew, she would have said, "NO". However 3 months down the line and onwards, she would, and does ,say "YES". Again, you pays your money and you takes your chance!

Certainly, the 2 experiences show that there is no doubt, as well as the mortality issue, considerable discomfort to be faced by Treatment. On the flip side Shirley lives to tell the tale 5 plus years on, and Brian close on 10 years It would be foolish not to take that in the equation. My research would be better if I could find 2 like them who did not take treatment and are still around, but, alas there are none on the books so to speak.

Still changing my mind 3/4 times daily, my problems centre on feeling so well now and not wanting a period of illness followed by extended months of lethargy, accompanied by thoughts of a 13% mortality for a 15% gain against return. As with most things requiring decisions, given time and thought, the issues reduce till the core is found and maybe we are approaching that time now for me and this quandary. Still 14 days is a longtime and that is when I next see my Consultant, by which time I will have my ducks in a row, if not the final decision made.

TESTS COMPLETED.

As previously reported, Blood, Urine, Lung Function and Echocardiogram Tests are required to confirm the physiological fitness required to undergo treatment as proposed. Blood, Urine and Lung Function were held last week and today, the Electrocardiogram was undertaken. All tests were replicas of those at the start of CHOP and hold no terrors for the patient. It will be interesting to find out what ravages.the Chemo has taken on me, as it must surely have done some. That said, and having completed another successful Country walk yesterday, I do not look to them as showing me unfit to face the treatment proposed and thus take the decision out of my hands! So, whilst I consider what further research I can pursue over the next 14 days, and see the end now of even the prescriptions given with the Chop, it seems almost as if I were in a state of Limbo. An ideal time to go on holiday in fact! Trouble is immune system not up to it yet, though we did manage a Restaurant for my wife"s birthday {she was 25, again}, this week. Our friend is off to Hurghada on March 4 and we would be there to greet him if not for me and the T-Cell. Tempus fugit and that lays heavy on my indecisive{ for the moment} mind.

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