Brett G
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Brett G
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19 Oct 2016

Hope - having reached one year after transplant!


My daughter gave me this decorated stone when I relapsed last year. It is a useful metaphor for what I have carried through my treatment.

This week is a significant week for all of us, as it marks one year since an unknown stem cell donor gave me hope by saving my life. The transplant itself was no walk in the park – although in many ways the anticipation was worse, as the doctors have to tell you everything that can go wrong, and in doing so give some pretty scary statistics on survival for even 12-18 months. I was able to speak to some who had been through it and so in doing so to get some perspective. The process itself is simple, with the cells going in as a gravity fed drip. There is then a period of waiting whilst one waits to see if the new cells will work – having had most of your bone marrow wiped out you feel pretty exposed! Eventually you get out of hospital and run the roller coaster of infections, fatigue, and frequent hospital visits. These are made much more bearable by the wonderful staff who work in transplant units, and by camaraderie with other patients (and relatives) going through a shared tough experience.

Gradually time passes and the infections and clinic visits become less frequent. It is still a bit too soon to confirm that I am completely out of the woods – and after one relapse the thought of my AML returning is never far from one’s mind, but things are looking good and we are determined to make the best of things. Fatigue and other effects are still unwelcome visitors, but you learn to listen to your body and manage these. Eventually you get to a stage where you can start to do more normal things. I still suffer pain and am tired, but am thankful.

Thankful that I have been able to do a few things to help others and give something back. Thankful that I am here to help my kids with their homework. Thankful to be here to keep my lovely wife company. Most of all thankful to my donor, a complete stranger, for his help.  

If you are not already registered as a donor, please consider it, as the more people on the register the better the match that people like me can get.

If you are under 30 and in the UK you can register at Anthony Nolan

And if over 30 please try at DKMS

Thank you!



Hi Brett, thank you so much for sharing this blog. Sharing experiences such as these can go such a long way in letting others know they are not alone. What a lovely, thoughtful gesture from your daughter. Thank you for sharing these links, and thank you for what you do to help raise awareness. I wish you all the very best, Alice