… Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation complications

Laurent Tirard 2018-03-17T16:35:45+00:00

Laurent Tirard

And even if (…) chronic GvHD continues to be a real problem on a daily basis (…) I always remember that I’m lucky to be alive

Until this phone call from St. Louis Hospital on December 31, 2012, announcing the results of a biopsy that I had done, I think I had never heard the word Lymphoma before. I knew what cancer was, or leukemia, but the illness I had just been diagnosed was unknown to me. Six months later, after two unsuccessful chemotherapy protocols, I entered a sterile room to reveive a bone marrow transplantation, which, thanks to the genetic compatibility of my sister, was going to – perhaps – save my life. I was given a fifty-fifty chance of remission. I had to stay locked up for a month.

Then things got complicated.

The GvHD attacked my skin, lungs, liver, intestines … At one point, I understand that I was given only one chance out of ten, even if the medical staff Trèfle 3 (which I will never praise enough professionalism and benevolence) has never let anything appear. I spent the worst moments of my life in this barren room.

But curiously, I also found a serenity that I have never experienced elsewhere. It was only after four months that I came out, after losing twenty pounds, I was barely able to walk. But the disease had been defeated. When I thanked the doctors, they told me that they were not there for much, as the problems of bone marrow transplantion continue to be a mystery to them. I will add modesty to their many merits.

And even if, five years later, a chronic form of GvHD continues to be a real problem on a daily basis (oral lichen, weakened lungs, destroyed nails …), I always remember that I am lucky to be alive, and I will never forget those to whom I owe it.