Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blood Diplomacy

Yesterday I did some research about t-cells and how they function during transplant. T-cells are a type of white blood cell. From what I think I understood, cord blood contains t-cells that are "naive," meaning they take a while to get up to speed. T-cells live in the body for a long time and are an important component of the immune system. One possible reason I've managed to stay so healthy through all this is that my leftover t-cells continued to do their job, even after they got their walking papers. The main concern is that these residual cells might attack the new cells that grafted into my bone marrow and have been churning out all the important components of my new blood. This has not happened, as I remain nearly 100% engrafted. If my t-cells were up to no good, they'd be trying to eliminate the interlopers. All parties involved must have worked out a non-aggression pack, to my benefit.

In theory, as I decrease and finally cease my immune-suppressant medication (about 3 weeks from now), the donor cells (the grafts) should get bolder. I'm not sure what will happen then. I may get graft vs. host symptoms. My t-cells might come under assault by the newly unrestricted white cells, which will hopefully mature and graduate to full t-cell status. It's strange to think I'll be sitting around doing nothing, possibly sleeping, and a battle royale might be raging in my immune system. All I ask is that they all join forces and annihilate any lurking leukemia cells. Once that's accomplished, I'm all for peace, love and understanding.

2 comments:

Kunal said...
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Kunal said...

I think what you describe is true -- in Sari's case the 'original' T-cells that managed to lurk around, in spite of getting bombarded by radiation and chemo, were strong enough to 'eat up' the donor cells on the first BMT.
You write so well -- and have a perspective that I so much admire. Here's wishing all the best -- let good take over.
Take care,
Kunal