A big day on the road to transplant

Today was a big day on the road to transplant!

Today we met with Brandon’s wonderful transplant team to discuss his upcoming transplant! We discussed general transplant plans and what to expect moving forward.
We were excited to learn that Brandon’s donor has begun the first stages of infectious disease testing in preparation for their donation. Once they are cleared for donation a date will be set and Brandon will proceed towards transplant.

As exciting as this step is, the meeting also brought forward many of the risks regarding transplant. Stem cell/bone marrow transplants are very high-risk procedures. Some of the major risks of transplant include graft rejection, and graft-verses-host-disease (GVHD). GVHD occurs when the donor’s cells attack the recipient’s body. GVHD can occur at anytime, however, the most serious complications usually occur within the first 100 days following transplant. Due to this, Brandon will be followed extremely closely during and after his transplant. We have so much confidence in the amazing transplant team at MD Anderson that preforms over 1,000 transplants per year (more than any other hospital)! We know Brandon is in THE best place for the next step of his treatment!

We also learned that Brandon’s doctor has requested that the donor go through a bone marrow harvest rather than a stem cell harvest. This means the donor will go under general anesthesia to have a portion of their bone marrow removed rather than donating stem cells through aphaeresis (a machine that filters the stem cells from their blood). This method is preferred as the risk for chronic graft-verses-host-disease is lower with bone marrow donation. Regardless of the type of cells that are harvested, the process for Brandon will be the same; the cells will be infused into his blood stream when he receives the transplant.

We are beyond thankful for this wonderful person that has agreed to donate their cells to Brandon. We can’t wait for the day that we can contact him/her and say thank you! We are amazed at their courage to give Brandon a chance for a life without leukemia.

Please continue to keep us, and Brandon’s donor, in your thoughts and prayers as we proceed forward with this scary, but very exciting, step towards a life without leukemia.

Thank you all for your continuous love and support.

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Remission!

I have been waiting for 9 months to say these words….

Brandon is in REMISSION!!!!!

Brandon will be going forward with his stem cell transplant!!!!!

The last 9 months have been extremely difficult for Brandon, myself, and our family. We have been through numerous ups and downs as we have learned that treatments have worked and failed.

The worst of these times, happened in January when we were told that Brandon was terminally ill. But then, something beautiful and amazing happened. We were absolutely amazed to see the love and support that we received when we asked for help so that we could get Brandon to MD Anderson. Thank you all so much for your support. You are all a part of the victory that we are celebrating today. Thank you for being a part of saving Brandon’s life.

Today we met with Brandon’s doctors and they have confirmed that the preliminary results were correct, Brandon’s blast cells are 2% in his bone marrow! This means that Brandon is in what’s called a “morphological remission.”

There are three types of remission, and Brandon has achieved one if them! A very minimal amount of residual leukemia has been detected (0.3% mutated cells), which means the leukemia is still lurking in the background. As Brandon continues with this treatment, there is still the chance that ALL of the leukemia will be wiped out, leading to another type of remission called “molecular remission.”

When Brandon’s blood cell counts recover (red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells) he will reach the third type of remission called “hematologic remission.”

Brandon’s doctors are extremely happy with these results! They are moving forward with planning for his stem cell transplant! It’s really happening!

A perfect match (10/10) donor has already been confirmed and is waiting on standby to donate their stem cells. Much of the timing of the transplant is up to the stem cell donor, but the goal is for Brandon to go to transplant as quickly as possible. This will likely happen in a month or so.

We have decided that it is in Brandon’s best interests to stay at MD Anderson for his stem cell transplant. Brandon’s condition is stable, but fragile, which means that he is unable to travel. Additionally, Brandon will be continuing on the MD Anderson clinical trial until he goes for transplant. We have all the confidence in the amazing doctors, nurses, and staff at MD Anderson to take care of Brandon as he continues forward with the next step of his treatment.

We are BEYOND EXCITED to share this news with everyone! Thank you all for your constant love, kindness, and support. We are so thankful to have so many amazing people in our lives.

Brandon is in REMISSION! WE DID IT!!!

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