Post transplant, the first 100 days are the most critical. Once reaching day 100, a series of tests are done to ensure that everything is working fine, and to also determine if the transplant was successful.
I am delighted to say that my 100 day test results done back in June 2011 confirmed that I am in remission (no cancer is currently present in my system). My bone marrow is made up of 98.5% of my donor’s stem cells and everything is strong and working well.
My blood count is stable although still somewhat not quite normal. I am still taking immunosuppressant drugs and they greatly affect my blood counts.
I am gradually building my strength by walking almost every day. I still have some dietary restrictions such as no seafood/shellfish, nothing unpasteurized, no cured meets, no old ripened soft cheeses. Basically, nothing that can potentially have bacteria. This also means no fresh-cut flowers or plants which can have mold.
An immune system takes anywhere from one to two years to build itself which explains why I need to be vigilant about avoiding getting infections, catching viruses, or coming in contact with germs and bacteria. It’s a safety precaution as my body might not be able to handle fighting something at this point.
Recovering and healing is a long process and patience is the order of the day. Going through a bone marrow/stem cell transplant is definitely harder and longer than mending a broken bone. Even though sometimes I feel great, my body will remind me I am not 100% recovered just yet, there’s still some ways to go.
I am determined to play by the rules and do everything I can to remain on the right track to healing and full recovery. At the one year mark, it will be confirmed whether or not I am officially in remission.
In my case, with all the diagnostic issues and disease complications that have necessitated the need for the bone marrow transplant to begin with, I am told that there is a 50% chance of recurrence. Then again, there is 50% that it will not come back.