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Stem cell transplants

Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2003

I am a 50 year old woman who was diagnosed with stage 3 MM in July 2001. As i wrote in a previous message, i am currently taking thalidomide after having 7 rounds of chemo over a year ago. At that time i still had 15% cancer in my marrow and was told by a specialist that i should get a transplant. However he said the stem cell transplant was not that effective long term and wanted me to have a mini-allo transplant, which would combine my marrow with a donors. I have a brother who is a match, but the problem with this is that i would most likely get graft vs. host disease in some form, though it could be mild, and i would have to be on anti-rejection drugs the rest of my life. Also, since the hospital is not in this area, i would have to move there for 3 months. Because of all that, i decided for the time being to try the thalidomide, which so far has kept the cancer from advancing, but has not removed any more of it as hoped. Unfortunately, i am having side effects and my doctor may take me off the drug which would mean i would most likely have to have a transplant. I see from messages on here that many have had stem cell transplants and would like to know what the doctors told the recipients...about how effective they are etc. And i would like to know how people who have had them are doing.

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2002

Read your note on a stem cell transplant. I am 56 and was diagnosed last April 2002. In my case we caught it very early. I went to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale as I have a second home there. My Dr. suggested three months of Chemo followed by an autogolous (sp?) transplant. He told me that because we were early in the game, he expected good results from the transplant. I had the transplant last Sept. and as of Jan I am in a remission. Now I guess it's a wait and see game.
I feel great and have gained all my strength back. I have even been able to do masters ski racing again, which is one of my passions.
Don't know if this is helpful, but hang in there. So far all has gone well for me. I would recommend maybe getting an opinion from the Mayo as they have several Dr.s involved in the research and developement of all kinds of things for MM.
Feel free to email me at sperrins1@aol.com

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2003

VJ: I was dx in stage three in 1999. At the time I was a 39 yo male. I had the stem cell transplant in May of 2000. I don't know what your doctor calls "long term" but everything I've see seams to indicate that the Stem Cell can hold the MM at bay for 3 years on the low side and there is one guy my Dr treats that is going on year number 12. There just is not enough info yet to do long term studies.

becca13's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2003

Hi, I am a 41 year old female who was Dx with MM when I was 38. I was at stage three with 50% cancer cells. I tried the Autologus transplant first which is where they use my own stem cells. It took four months of chemo before the actual transplant and then three months isolation after the one month stay in the hospital. I was feeling good for about 7 months and then relapsed. In March of this year, 2003, I had the Allogenic transplant using my sisters stem cells. Although I have not completed the first 100 days yet, I can already tell Im doing much better. I will have follow up tests the end of June to see how well this worked. Of course the big fear was the GVH disease, but I have been good, taken my meds, eat the right things and have been very blessed that I have not had any signs of it. I met a girl at clinic who did end up with it and although she looked thin, she seemed to be doing great. What city do you have to move to in order to get your transplant? I was lucky, the U of M is right in my back yard. Only 45 minutes from home so its been easy doing treatment. The best I can say is put your trust in God and let go and let God handle it. Really, thats all any of us can do. He has been good to me and I know He will be good to you too. Dont get too stressed out over GVH. If you have to take anti-rejection drugs just think of it as your daily vitamin! I just hope you have good Rx insurance as it is expensive!
Take care and God Bless You. Becca

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