Team Bella Update:
Pre-B, ALL (High risk), Relapse, Hemopioetic Stem Cell Transplant BMT #2, Day +96.
Yesterday, Bella went to theatre for the important day +100 BMA (bone marrow aspirate ) & LP (lumbar puncture) to obtain her CHIMERISM. The test for chimerism after a hematopoietic stem cell transplant involves identifying the genetic profiles of the recipient and of the donor and then evaluating the extent of mixture in the recipient’s blood, bone marrow, or other tissue. The previous two chimerism results at day +30 & day +60 results were exactly what we needed. Bella had engrafted her dad’s healthy stem cells to produce healthy bone marrow >99% donor marrow. So basically, she currently possesses new healthy bone marrow.
Previously, in the 2.3 years in which she was given chemo, it reduced her residual disease (leukemia) to zero. But once she stopped taking the chemotherapy drugs, the cancer cells came back as essentially, she still possessed her diseased bone marrow.
The day +100 results will be available in ~2 weeks, but all blood results from the past 2 months indicates that Bella has successfully engrafted.
Day 100 is important in our journey as it’s like a certain end point for BMT. If the patient has not developed any major issues related to GvHD (graft versus host disease ) or any other organ failure / complications (as a result of the transplant ) then Bella’s oncology team move towards reducing her therapy.
They will consider weaning her off the nasogastric feeds once she reaches a good weight. We are currently 17.2kg. She needs to be at least 18kg for the dieticians to declare her nutritionally healthy. Removing her permacath etc. Appointments have already gone to once weekly!
Bella has been on cyclosporin since cell day 0. Cyclosporine is used to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a bone marrow, liver, kidney, or heart transplant. It is usually taken along with other medications to allow your new organ to function normally. Cyclosporine belongs to a class of drugs known as immunosuppressants. Bella’s dosage is very low at the moment & Dr François/Dr has advised us she would be weaning bella off the cyclosporin over the next month! This means that the oncology team are confident that her body will be able to maintain the graft without the drugs.
As 2017 draws to a close Team Bella is exactly where we hoped we would be. Our journey will never be entirely over as Bella will live with medical reviews for her entire life. But that’s only a small sacrifice to make in the scheme of things.
However, we are forever grateful & thankful each day for the amazing team at RCH & to our beautiful Team Bella supporters (our family, friends & the wider community in Australia & overseas). We could not have done this without you. We love you all.
Team Bella: Day +100 we made it. Albeit some tortuous mental mountains we climbed along the way, but we never gave up!