End of an Era
This test measure the percentage of my blood cells that are from me and from Yaakov who generously gave his hematopoietic stem cells in a effort to cure my cancer a little over 8 years ago.
While this result was hardly a surprise as my last test over 6 years ago and done from my bone marrow was 3% donor and 0% of the important T cells.
And we all knew that sadly my transplant failed years ago precisely because I rejected the graft.
Now it is clearly documented that I am no longer chimeric. Remember that a chimera is a mix of two animals- a lion and a snake and hawk as a mythical example.
I am just me- not a trace of Yaakov in my bloodstream.
Some 8 years ago, I was, for a brief hopeful few months, both Brian and Yaakov, hoping to become 100% Yaakov in my blood, with the real chance that his healthy immune system would kill on my cancer forever. That I would be cured.
Sadly, that was not to be and I lost the graft and relapsed. That story and my subsequent challenges in controlling my CLL is the genesis and the guts of this blog.
Now that era is officially closed. I did the test as there are some cases of donor chimerism climbing when patients take ibrutinib. Not me. Probably because I already was at zero donor when I started on PCI-3275 (AKA ibrutinib) 4 years ago.
The news makes me a tiny bit sad. It reminds of a more optimistic time when I thought I might be able to forever say goodbye to CLL. While I still harbor that hope, it is tempered with heavy dose of realism.
I will be forever grateful to Yaakov for his generous and selfless gift of a chance to save to my life. And offer me a window of such hope.