Tag Archive for StemCellTransplant

Patient’s Grandson: How My Grandfather Inspires Me

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Many young boys have special relationships with their grandfathers. Few express their feelings as eloquently as young Oliver Parry. Inspired by his grandfather’s work and his battle with cancer, the nine-year-old penned the essay below, winning a regional award from the 2013-2014 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Reflections contest, and potentially qualifying for a national competition.

Oliver’s story reminds us that cancer’s reach is wide, and it affects the patient’s whole family. The essay is as inspiring to us as Oliver’s grandfather is to him, particularly given the year that Oliver went through; the young boy lives in Newtown, Conn., and lost friends in the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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What’s the Difference Between Donating Bone Marrow and Donating Stem Cells?

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Stem cell transplantation (sometimes called bone marrow transplants) is a treatment for certain forms of cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma, as well as other diseases. But before a patient can receive a transplant, stem cells must be collected from a donor (an allogeneic donation) or from the patient (an autologous transplant). Read more

How to Care for Your Central Line at Home

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Cancer or blood disorder patients may have central lines, which make it easier to receive certain medications (such as chemotherapy) and have blood tests. The major types of central lines include Port-A-Cath, Hickman, and peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC). Patients receiving stem cell transplants sometimes have central lines.

If you have a central line, you may need to care for it at home. Or you may need guidance in caring for a loved one with a central line. Knowing the correct procedures is essential to preventing infection. Read more

One Year After My Stem Cell Transplant — What I’ve Learned

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by Martha Laperle

When my son Ryan ran the Boston Marathon this year, I watched him with a special level of pride. Not only had he completed his first-ever marathon in four hours, but he was running, in large part, because of me.

Just over a year earlier, at the age of 57, I had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a diagnosis that turned my life upside down and led to weeks of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center (DF/BWCC). Ryan was running to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and had received nearly $11,000 in pledges.

Barely a minute after Ryan crossed the finish line, the area shook with explosions. Read more

New Therapies Bring Progress Against Multiple Myeloma

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By Christine Cleary 

The 21st century has seen great strides in treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow once considered a death sentence. In fact, thanks to research by Dana-Farber scientists, this blood cancer that took the lives of Geraldine Ferraro and Leonard P. Zakim has become a chronic disease for many patients. Read more

Seven Tips for Life After Stem Cell Transplant

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By Maria Pearson

As a technology teacher who had a long career with IBM before going into education, I have encountered all sorts of opportunities to teach – and to learn. The biggest such opportunity of my life occurred at the intersection of cancer, technology, and Dana-Farber.

In August 2010, I was diagnosed with stage III multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. No search engine was adequate in comforting my fears of life expectancy, treatment, or facing a stark life-altering challenge.

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The Power of Listening to Cancer Patients

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By Melissa Cochran, MS, NP

For my cancer patients, a stem cell transplant is a life-changing event. They cannot work outside the home for a full year; visits to Dana-Farber are about the only excursions allowed. No more trips to the grocery store or dinners at a favorite restaurant.

In our clinic, we have a solid team in place – physicians, nurses, social workers, and nurse practitioners like myself – working together to support and anticipate each cancer patient’s needs along the way. As you can imagine, significant physical and emotional issues can arise for our patients. Read more

Finding a Way to Help Cancer Patients – Again and Again

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Bob Hurkett doesn’t know what became of the little girl he first heard of in 1998, but he thinks about her often. She was 5 years old and needed a bone marrow transplant. Hurkett and his wife, Jane, attended a donor drive hosted by the girl’s family where their blood was drawn and tested as a possible match.

Neither was a match but Hurkett felt compelled to help. When he learned about the need for platelets – which are vitally important for cancer patients as a means of replacing their own depleted supplies, as well as for trauma victims and other critically ill adults and children –he volunteered to donate.

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Siblings Are Thankful for Bone Marrow Transplant

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On Thanksgiving Day every year, Marc Kutzer and his sister, Roberta Klein, have much to be thankful for.

In 2001, Kutzer went to his primary care physician for a routine physical. What his doctor discovered led Kutzer, 52, to Dana-Farber — and to a procedure he credits for saving not only his life, but also his sister’s. Read more

Stem Cell vs. Bone Marrow Transplant: What’s the Difference?

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With Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber has performed thousands of stem cell/bone marrow transplants for adult and pediatric patients with blood cancers and other serious illnesses.

What’s the difference between these two terms? As it turns out, the only real distinction is in the method of collecting the stem cells.

Let’s start with the basics. Read more