Blood Brothers

I had my second dose of Campath and my first dose of Fludarabine yesterday and apart from spiking a bit of a temperature and raised blood pressure briefly in the night there no reactions this time so hopefully this is how it will continue now with these two drugs for the next few days.

I had a bit of a disturbed night, I could get off to sleep but kept waking after 15 minutes or so but I got some solid sleep from 01:00 to 05:00 so I'm not feeling too tired this morning.

I was given a sheet with the plan for my treatment with the days numbered -8 , -7 etc. down to day 0 when I have my stem cell transplant, which will be Tuesday 16th September. The doctor also told me my donor actually comes from Germany rather than the UK. This was suggested as his origin months ago but then it seemed to change to UK or may I just misinterpreted what I'd heard. However since I like sauerkraut anyway it doesn't really matter if I have German rather than Cockney blood.

One thing I found intriguing is that my donor has blood group A+ where as mine is the run of the mill O+ . I read up about this on the 'net and clarified a few things with the doctor as well.

Whereas in solid organ transplants like kidneys the blood groups have to matvh as well as the tissue types, in about 30 - 40% of stem cell transplants the donor and recipient are of a different blood group.

Over about 90 days from the transplant my blood group will change from being O+ to A+ which makes sense in that my red and white blood cells will be being made by the new stem cells from the donor and a person's blood group is determined from the proteins present on the red cells.

There are technical details of what this all means here but the main implication is that whenever I am given blood transfusions over the next few months they will always take a sample and check my blood group to see if it has changed over yet.

There can be a few complications caused by the fact that although my own stem cells will be largely destroyed by all this chemo this week there may be some still going and making blood of group O+ and more importantly antibodies against groups A and B. This can cause a reaction to my new blood group of type A called haemolysis but this should be a minor effect because the vast majority of my stem cells will be from my donor and it usually treated with a course of steroids, which as we know are wonder drugs that fix everything :o)

This is all run of the mill stuff to the doctors but to me it was pretty amazing to think that I'm going to change blood groups. I'm sure this must have come up in an episode of CSI at some point or some other crime series. If not maybe I have an idea for a script........


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