I had an appointment with my new Consultant haematologist. THE PROFESSOR, or Professor Vampire, or known from here on as The Prof. And because a transplant patient is a patient for life I suspect it will be an ongoing relationship.
We began with a rapport-building session over the big brother nature of our respective organisations. He needed to make certain that he was logged into the correct computer system so they knew he was at work. He then had to electronically call me into the consulting room even though I was sitting in front of him. Otherwise, I would be regarded as a no show, get a black mark on my report card and probably provoke a cataclysmic collapse in the NHS payment system. My organisation has it’s own big brother tendencies, but The Prof has it worse.
And then we began. Cutting straight to the relevant news and the primary reason for this post, I’m very happy to announce that the Anthony Nolan team has located a 9/10 donor match. A fantastic, generous individual has volunteered to give part of themselves to save a life. And not their family’s life, or their friend’s but the life of some stranger they know nothing about.
What type of magnificent person undertakes such a thing? I can only think they must be some sort of a superhero.
I don’t know anything about my possible donor. I didn’t ask because I was overwhelmed and struggling to control the maracas in my brain that were edging toward the conga line again. This was a significant discussion. I needed to concentrate. In any event, they won’t tell me much – maybe age, sex, but nothing more.
The Prof then confirmed all the scary things I determined from my Dr Google search and furnished detail I didn’t know. Although there were no big shocks, I struggled to maintain my composure when he set out the chances and risks. Let’s just say he was forthright.
He has followed up by copying me into a letter to my GP summarising our discussion. It arrived today and I have it in black and white. I didn’t mishear. I didn’t misunderstand. And although I secretly hoped that some medical miracle would swoop in to save the day, there’s no chance of that. It is what it is – all or nothing with no half way. It will work or it won’t. I will live or …
I’ve been thinking. If you were offered a raffle ticket that cost everything you owned but gave you a chance to win £5bn would you buy one? You’d have a 50/50 chance of winning – what would you do then? Would you take the chance? Would you risk it all?
The next phase for me and my potential superhero is to hop through medical hoops to make certain we’re both fit. If that goes well I’ll be admitted to hospital to start the MUD (Matched Unrelated Donor) transplant in two weeks. This time the poisonous cocktail is fludarabine, campath and melphalan. The first two prepare my body and the final one destroys my bone marrow. As my bone marrow dies it makes room for the donor’s cells to move in and take over.
Of course one or both of us may fail the medical and this could all come to nought. Things would get tricky then.
I had to curtail holiday plans to start jumping through those medical hoops and get my house in order. Extended hospital stays take planning and it’s not easy to completely exit your life.
It will be a long and difficult slog but if it works there’s a chance I might be cured – my last chance of being cured. It’s a gamble but…
I’m buying that raffle ticket.
*main image from pixelstalk.com