Thursday, July 7, 2016

End of an Era




A Mythical Magical Mix of Creatures: A Chimera

Today I learned that my chimerism test in my peripheral blood was 100% host and 0% donor.

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.
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1 Comments:

Blogger sweener87 said...

Although you have alluded to the loss of the transplant many times before, I will mourn along with you the finality of it all. As a lurker on your blog, I remember your transplant journey which I read avidly. Your journey, and that of PC Venkat, was what motivated my husband to decide that transplant was his best hope too. You both as well as 11qRick from Chaya's blog. I note too the train whistle off in the distance. I hope you can put this all behind you for your trip. "Each day is a gift" is a great way to live. Take strength that your life and your struggles and Yaakov have been a gift to us all out here, lurking.
I consider you a great friend and wish you and yours only the best. Safe trip.

July 9, 2016 at 4:26 AM  

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