Been meaning to write about my illness for awhile now but somehow it just seems to trivial for me to write it to the world (coming from a girl who writes a fashion blog - huh, go figure rite?). Anyways, I think the battle is almost over; in a good way.
Previously the doctors were struggling to find a stem cell match for my stem cell transplant (wiki), my siblings were no match at all, so we had to find from Malaysian Blood Bank Donor registry or something like that - no match either. I think it’s only a matter of not enough self awareness among Malaysians, our database of blood/stem cell donors is small compared to Singapore. So they widen the search to Singapore, China & US. But no perfect match was found. At this point it was devastating as I really needed a transplant to prevent from the cancer cells relapsing.
But there was a silver lining on not finding a matched donor, turns out my leukemia is AML inversion 16 and it has a good prognosis or something. And turns out after my second chemotherapy session, no more cancer blasts were seen which means I have been in remission. At this point I have undergone four chemotherapy session, each rounding up to 3-4 weeks each session with 4-7 days of leave at home. In summary, the doctors said I am able to use my own stem cells for the transplant. So I don’t need to worry about my body rejecting any donor’s cell and I don’t need to worry about having to come up with money to buy oversea donor’s stem cells (would have cost around MYR100k!!).
I’m currently at the hospital right now for a collection, I had to undergo a cyclomobilisation session which was a one day chemotherapy infused through IV drips. Cyclomobilisation uses cyclophosphomide drug to induce the stem cells from my bone marrow to part and on day11(1st November 2010) they will use a machine to process my blood and get the stem cells and keep it until the day of my transplant.
When is my transplant? Honestly, cannot wait for all of this to be over so I can stay at home and not have to come to the hospital anymore but in all actualization 6 months after the transplant is the most crucial time. I am reborned with a baby-like health system so I have to be extra careful on what I eat, breathe or do. But, let’s take things one step at a time. The docs said my transplant could be on December. Another month in the hospital..
p/s: not everybody knows this but for those who have me on facebook probably does, I've started wearing hijab. Will upload some photos once proper photos are taken ;)