Bone Marrow Transplant: 93% Chris / by Leslie

Healthy Bone MarrowThis is the ninth installment of the story of Jerry's Bone Marrow Transplant, which details my father-in-law's life saving bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore. Read the previous installment - Part Eight: Jerry 3000

On Tuesday, we heard from Maddy and Jerry, and they had the results of a bone marrow sample from Jerry. The doctors found that 93% of the cells from Jerry were Chris's cells! This is very encouraging news.

Before the results came in, the nurses were telling us not to worry if the count was low, and were generally preparing us for mediocre results. They were very surprised and happy to see such a high number so soon.

They are reluctant to say that engraftment has occurred, the doctors are still watching Jerry's blood levels and waiting for particular numbers, like neutrophils and platelets to continue to rise, but it does mean that Chris's cells made their way into Jerry's bones and they are thriving. The neutrophils, which is the most important number, is at 2530. Normal is above 1500. The platelets are at 157 and are also going up every day. A high platelet level is 350. The white cell count is also doing very well. I last reported it was up to 3000 while he was still on Neupogen. After they took him off the Neupogen, it dipped down to 1500, but now it is back up to 3700 all on it's own. The bottom line is that all his numbers are excellent and are out of the danger zones.

Jerry is off Cellcept, a key anti-rejection medication, but he is still on Prograf and they have doubled up on it. He has developed a rash on his face and head and the doctors are watching it to see if it is graft vs host disease. They took him off his last antibiotic to see if the rash was an allergic reaction. The rash is not spreading so far, so they don't think that it is graft vs host, but if it doesn't go away by Sunday they will do a biopsy to be sure.

They have been visiting the hospital every other day instead of every day and Jerry is feeling well enough to dress up in slacks and a button down shirt and go out for dinner! He ate a good dinner of fish and even had a glass of wine. The doctors didn't like to hear that though, no alcohol they say, but it's great news that he is feeling that great. Maddy also said he was up in the middle of the night and ate a quarter of a Hershey's bar. He hasn't had any candy in months. 

When we heard all this wonderful news, Chris said, "This might actually work!" It's truly amazing and we are hopeful that Jerry may be home in a few weeks!

Read the next installment - Part Ten: Doing Exeptionally Well