A Happy and Thankful Life



Two years post transplant

Two years ago, I spent the day in J’s room waiting with him. Waiting for him to receive another chance at life.

When he relapsed the first time, we knew that the only option left would be a bone marrow transplant, which really is a stem cell transplant. Two years prior, two of his three siblings were tested to see if they were a match. Each sibling has a one out of four chance to be a match. His brother was a 9/10 match. With the relapse, they rechecked the registry to see if there were any available matches. There weren’t any.  His brother was his best chance. Two years ago, I watched his brother’s stem cells transfuse into J. For something so monumental, it was as simple as a transfusion. His brother gave J another chance. Without his stem-cells, J wouldn’t have made it as long as he did. The transplant gave him another chance.

There are major risks for BMT/SCT. But for J’s case, and many other AML patients, not having a transplant means a guaranteed outcome. With the transplant, there is a chance. That is what we wanted. We wanted another chance at life. He wanted to live.

Because his brother donated his stem cells, J was given 14 more months to enjoy life. Those months were rough at times because of the side affects, but he was alive. His relapse after the transplant wasn’t supposed to happen. unfortunately when dealing with cancer, nothing is guaranteed.

Tonight, we should have been celebrating his new 2-year birthday. Even though I still miss J desperately, I’m reminding myself of the reasons to be thankful. We were able to encourage others to join the Be the Match Registry. His siblings willingly got tested to see if they could donate. His brother put his life on hold for two weeks to come and donate his stem cells. We did everything we could with the options available. J was given another chance. He was given 14 more months at life. For that, I’m thankful.

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