FAQ - Bone Marrow Diseases
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How does a person live after a bone marrow transplant?

A friend has AML and will undergo a bone marrow transplant. Can she go back to her old job after the transplant? Can she live a normal life? How many years more?

In addition to the physical discomfort associated with the transplant experiance there is emotional and psychological discomfort as well. Some patients find the emotional and psychological stress more problematic than the physical discomfort.

The psychological and emotional stress stems from several factors. First, patients undergoing transplants are already traumatized by the news that they have a life-threatening disease. While the transplant offers hope for their recovery, the prospect of undergoing a long, arduous medical procedure is still not pleasant and there's no guarantee of success.

Second, patients undergoing a transplant can feel quite isolated. The special precautions taken to guard against infection while the immune system is impaired can leave a patient feeling detached from the rest of the world and cut off from normal human contact. The patient is housed in a private room, sometimes with special air-filtering equipment to purify the air. The number of visitors is restricted and visitors are asked to wear gloves, masks and/or other protective clothing to inhibit the spread of bacteria and virus while visiting the patient. When the patient leaves the room, he or she may be required to wear a protective mask, gown and/or gloves as a barrier against infection. This feeling of isolation comes at the very time in a patient's life when familiar surroundings and close physical contact with family and friends are most needed.

'Helplessness" is also a common feeling among bone marrow transplant patients, which can breed further feelings of anger or resentment. For many, it's unnerveing to be totally dependent on strangers for survival, no matter how competent they may be. The fact that most patients are unfamiliar with the medical jargon used to describe the transplant procedure compounds the feeling of helplessness. Some also find it embarrassing to be dependent on strangers for help with basic daily functions such as using the washroom.

The long weeks of waiting for the transplanted marrow to engraft, for blood counts to return to safe levels, and for side effects to disappear increase the emotional trauma. Recovery can be like a roller coaster ride: one day a patient may feel much better, only to awake the next day feeling as sick as ever.

After being discharged from the hospital, a patient continues recovery at home (or at lodging near the transplant center if the patient is from out of town) for two to four months. Patients usually cannot return to full-time work for up to six months after the transplant.

Though patients will be well enough to leave the hospital, their recovery will be far from over. For the first several weeks the patient may be too weak to do much more than sleep, sit up, and walk a bit around the house. Frequent visits to the hospital or associated clinic will be required to monitor the patient's progress, and to administer any medications and/or blood products needed. It can take six months or more from the day of transplant before a patient is ready to fully resume normal activities.

During this period, the patient's white blood cell counts are often too low to provide normal protection against the viruses and bacteria encountered in everyday life. Contact with the general public is therefore restricted. Crowded movie theaters, grocery stores, department stores, etc. are places recovering BMT patients avoid during their recuperation. Often patients will wear protective masks when venturing outside the home.

A patient will return to the hospital or clinic as an outpatient several times a week for monitoring, blood transfusions, and administration of other drugs as needed. Eventually, the patient becomes strong enough to resume a normal routine and to look forward to a productive, healthy life.

It can take as long as a year for the new bone marrow to function normally. Patients are closely monitored during this time to identify any infections or complications that may develop.

Life after transplant can be both exhilarating and worrisome. On the one hand, it's exciting to be alive after being so close to death. Most patients find their quality of life improved after transplant.

Nonetheless, there is always the worry that relapse will occur. Furthermore, innocent statements or events can sometimes conjure up unpleasant memories of the transplant experience long after the patient has recovered. It can take a long time for the patient to come to grips with these difficulties.  (+ info)

How old must a person be to give a bone marrow donation?

I am 17 years old (18 at the end of this month) and I would like to, if possible, give a bone marrow donation. I do not know if I am too young and my bones are mature enough yet or not.

as long as you are of sound mind and body, and understand the decision you are making, you can volunteer to be tested as a candidate for donation. Im not sure if you are trying to donate to the national registry for just anyone, or if you are trying to help a friend. In the case of a friend, you will go through some dna testing to see how compatible you are to that person before the donation will ever occur. at 17 I doubt you will have any resistance by a medical staff in your decision to donate. you are old enough to understand what you are doing and of sound mind and body. And not sure how it works, but I know through the Hippa laws (which are laws set by the government regulating health information) at 14 we consider you capable of desiding who has access to your medical info. So technically parents dont have to know if your able to do this on your own (driving around etc) In the case of expenses, if your donating to a friend, their insurance pays for everything, as far as I understand it. so good luck!!  (+ info)

If chosen to be a bone marrow donor, can I have the procedure done at my local hospital?

I am interested in becoming a bone marrow donor. I know that you give a sample and are then put into the registry. I was just wondering that if I am chosen can I go to my local hospital to have the procedure done? Or do I have to travel to another hospital? I am a college student and am not able to easily leave town. Thank you for your answers. This is something I would really like to do.

I am on the bone marrow donor list.
Fist off you have a physical done and a blood test.

If a match comes along THEN they take a sample at the hospital they choose. You are usually reimbursed the expense though.

Then if you are chosen to be used in the transplant you have to go to their chosen hospital again.

But you may never get to that point.
I've been on the list for 14 years and never called. But then again you may be on week and get the call.

EDIT: I live in Australia and that's the way it's done here so don't give me thumbs down when I answered the question.  (+ info)

Can your bone marrow be removed in advance, in case a person needs it in the future?

If a person gets their bone marrow removed, can they get it frozen, if they need to use it ( for cancer) later? If someone doesn't have a right match for the blood type, can they use their own bone marrow that was removed when they were healthy?

Bone marrow for transplantation CAN be frozen and stored, for at least several years. I still have peripheral blood stem cells in storage that were harvested 5 years ago before my bone marrow transplant. I ended up using a donor, so I didnt use the ones I had donated myself.

Mine are stored as part of the fees I payed way back then, but it was also covered because I was getting ready to go through a bone marrow transplant. I ultimately used a donor because even though they could use my own marrow, relapse chances were higher with your own stem cells.

And in many situations, even if you were healthy when you had it harvested, you also wouldnt be able to use your own stem cells. Private cord blood banks make their money off telling people that using your own stem cells is best. Those against embryonic stem cell research have all but convinced those who are uneducated about it by telling them that with adult stem cells you can use your own stem cells, which are a perfect match, which therefore erases any chance of an immunological response, or rejection.

Thats actually not true. Using your own stem cells does dramatically reduce the chances of rejection, but it doesnt eliminate them. And, as I just said, even if your own cells can physically be used, many diseases show a higher rate or relapse when the patient's own cells were used rather than a donor.

So, in theory yes, you could have your own marrow or stem cells harvested, frozen and saved. It will cost, it will have to be done by a private bank. But, in the end, it may not do any good even if you do end up later with a disease that can be treated by a bone marrow transplant.  (+ info)

What do I say to a person who is getting a bone marrow transplant next week?

My very best friend has leukemia and will get a bone marrow transplant. I have nothing to say, but I feel very sorry for the pain she will go through. She will lose her hair. She will be in confinement for three months. I will see her one more time before her procedure. Do I bring flowers? Do I give her a card? I also don't want to cry and scare her.

Try ur best 2 hold in da tears nd b der 4 her...make her feel special by gettin her flowers nd a card!!! nd also if shell b in confinement giv her magazines nd sumtin 2 keep her occupied so she doesnt feel alone!!!  (+ info)

bone marrow butter, how do I make it?

I saw this on a travel show, rib steak topped with bone marrow butter.
do I just whip the butter and the marrow together, or should I cook the marrow first, cook it how?
poaching, interesting

I only have dark stock in my freezer right now, too strong a flavor?

For this it is best to crack the bones, poach the marrow in a light stock for 10 minutes, cool then add it chopped into medium pieces into soften butter, I have made this in my years as a chef, mine was more like a garlic butter with shallots, fresh garlic, brandy or madeira in the butter, fold the marrow in carefully as not to break it up to much, then as it melts on the meat the pieces are visible.  (+ info)

How is a bone marrow transplant done?

I just got accepted on the list for being a donor for bone marrow. Now they contacted me and said they believe that there is a 8 yr old boy who could use my bone marrow, they are running test on him and me and comparing out tissues and everything.
I was just wondering that if this goes through. What do i endure. Like what will the procedure be for me?

Well done for doing this and i hope that the procedure will not put you off. All i know is that they extract the marrow from a suitable area i.e hip this normally done with a local anasthetic they draw out the marrow ready for the patient to recieve but they will explain every part of the procedure so that you are comfy with it.It'll be sore afterwards but will be worth it when you think about the gift you are giving.  (+ info)

What kind of test do doctors use to match bone marrow from another family member?

My dad might need a bone marrow transplant and i was wondering how they go about testing family members for possible match

The will draw blood and do blood tests. THey match by HLA (human leukocyte antigen) tissue type. Its based on dna but other factors are considered.

http://www.marrow.org is the National Marrow Donors Program for the US. The site is informative and helpful for understanding the process. If you are not in the US and would prefer the site for your country, google for your country's marrow program. They are all essentially the same and work cooperatively world wide, though.

The best chance at a related match is a sibling at 1 in 4, next best a parent or child at 1 in 8. After that, it is unlikely that a related person would be a match and most insurance companies wont pay to test anyone else (anyone can get tested, but they would be paying out of pocket).

Here is wiki on HLA tissue typing, but its a lot of technical speak
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_leukocyte_antigen  (+ info)

How is the procedure of a bone marrow transplant? And where are the bone marrows in our body located?

My cousin is sick with leukemia , she will have a bone marrow transplant next week.

Inside the bone.  (+ info)

How does a bone marrow transplant affect a person with hodgkins lymphoma?

How does a bone marrow transplant affect a person with hodgkins lymphoma ?

  (+ info)

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