How often you have appointments depends on how long it’s been since your stem cell transplant and how you’re getting on. As you recover, you’ll have appointments less often, and eventually a yearly check-up might be all you need.
If you have any questions or concerns between your appointments, contact your team at the transplant centre.
During this time, you’ll have regular appointments once or twice a week. During these appointments, your team will:
You’ll also have regular blood tests that will measure your blood count, liver and kidney function, and check for viruses.
‘The number of appointments you have can be intensive at first – but this is all part of the transplant journey.’
Jean, BMT co-ordinator
You might also:
‘I kept a check on all the appointments in an old-fashioned diary. I also recorded my medication and kept a record of my weight, exercise and food. This was all helpful during consultant appointments.’
Sarah had a transplant in 2010
You may still have appointments every two weeks until about a year after your transplant. This varies from hospital to hospital, and will depend on how your recovery is going, but you might have:
You’ll also have chimerism tests done on your blood and bone marrow samples.
This measures how well your donor’s cells have engrafted – how many of your blood or bone marrow cells are being produced by your donor.
100% chimerism means that all of your bone marrow and blood cells come from your donor, while mixed chimerism means that some of your own cells are still there.
If you have mixed chimerism, your team might make changes to your medication or arrange for you to have a donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). This is when more cells from your original donor are given to ‘strengthen’ the donor cells and push the chimerism levels up to 100%.
Download our guide Life After Transplant: An Essential Guide to Keeping Track of your Recovery for more information.
It’s common to need to go back to hospital, particularly in the first weeks and months after a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. This doesn’t mean that your transplant hasn’t worked – it’s quite common to have some glitches and challenging times while you recover.
Reasons for going back in are varied but the chances of developing problems become lower as time goes on and your immune system recovers. Your transplant team will be monitoring you and will tell you what side effects, signs and symptoms to look out for.
It’s natural to feel frightened, down or frustrated about this. Find out more about looking after your emotions during and after a stem cell transplant.
‘When I was recovering from pneumonia, I was in and out of hospital all the time. I was feeling particularly down one day when I received a letter from my donor. It gave me a real boost and was just so uplifting. I hope that I’ll get to meet him one day.’
Read more about Peter’s experiences of recovery in his blog
There are times when you may need specialist care on a high-dependency or intensive care unit (ICU or ITU). These units offer essential care, support and close observation if you become very unwell. Staff on these units are trained in using special equipment, machines and medications to monitor and treat your condition.
This can be a frightening and challenging time for you and your family. But the people looking after you during your stay will work very hard to make sure that you settle in as quickly and smoothly as possible. And you can talk to your team about any concerns you might have.
Information published: 10/10/16
Next review due: 10/10/19