October 18, 2011


     We called 'heads' on that flip of a coin.  It seems to have come up 'tails'.  My uncle donated his stem cells but the count only hit somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000.  That number needed to be closer to 1 to 2 million so we're way off.  They're going to try some last ditch efforts to see if there isn't some way to get the cells produced but I'm not holding my breath.  It seems we're headed to the national registry so I will again make this plea. 
     If you feel motivated to impact someone's life (possibly my dad's but more likely someone else's) in a very big way with very little impact on you, I would urge you to register at bethematch.org.  You fill out the request online and they mail you some q-tip types of swabs.  You swab the inside of your cheek and mail it back.  That's all it takes for the initial steps.  They then contact you if you match anyone down the road. 
     And I'm sure my dad wouldn't mind hearing directly from any of y'all to encourage him in his battle.  Fighting day after day after day in the face of continual losses gets more than a bit disheartening.  Cancer sucks, after all.


The Mercy Place said...

I finally signed up. Let's see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Isaac, choir director here. I'm going to ask a dumb question. And yes there are dumb questions. Is it possible to "mix" your uncle's stem cells with those of a registry match so that it reaches the 1-2 million count your looking for but get's closer to the familial match? I hope that made sense. I pray for you every day!!

Isaac said...

Yes, there are dumb questions but this is not one. My mom asked the same question and I'm not willing to say that her question is dumb.

The problem is that you'd have too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. The two different donors could react against each other which could then stimulate a reaction against the host, ie my dad. That'd be a bad, bad, bad situation to have TWO different types of immune cells attacking my dad. It's called graft-versus-host and to have two grafts would increase the danger with little benefit. He wouldn't stand much of a chance of resisting that.

And in all probability, knock on wood, the next donor shouldn't have a problem reaching the target of 4 million in total so adding my uncles would only complicate things. I hope that answers the question.

Isaac said...

Eric, thanks for signing up. I hope that you have a chance to help out some family (maybe ours) in a very real and meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

Choir director here again. thanks for the answer. If I understand correctly, there are no perfect matches when trying to "meld" the two systems together. The better chance for your dad is to have all of the stem cells from one donor to cut down the chance of a reaction to the donor cells. Now question #2. Will your dad have to take some sort of anti-rejection meds for the rest of his life? What a small price to pay to stay alive. Know that I pray for you everyday!!