To those of who that pray for Fabian – and I know many do – I want to encourage you that your prayers offered in faith most certainly make a difference. Seeing him now, in remission and in such good health following the hammering chemo he received only weeks ago is testament to this. In fact until recently our consultant described him as ‘very frail’ yet he has bounced back beyond medical expectation. Yes, he had an infection which meant an unscheduled 5 day hospital stay and his neutrophil count remains low but his overall recovery has been rapid given the parlous state of his bone marrow. This augers well for preparing him for transplant as he will need to be in the best physical condition going into this most dangerous procedure. For that reason, the treatment plan is to keep Fabian on low level (maintenance) chemo for the time being rather than the high dose chlorfarabine that was originally planned. We need wisdom in this decision as the danger of relapse is ever present and would jeopardise the transplant route if that happened. Meanwhile, we know that 13 year old Cassia will once again be his donor from the point of view that introducing a different donor’s stem cells this time around could generate a graft vs graft reaction as there would be in effect 3 different immune systems all vying for supremacy. The gene therapy approach requires her to give a sizeable sample of blood beforehand that gets couriered to a lab in France, Nantes to be precise, where the T cells are genetically treated with a retrovirus for a 100 days and then returned ready for infusing into Fabian. This may be cutting edge research but actually seems like rather a crude process. The thought of this life-giving sample being lost in freight is unimaginable! I fancy a trip to collect it myself..
So we are hoping for an event-free May in preparation for the summer of discontent (as it were). It is also exam season and both Ben and Oli face their own trials in this respect. With all they have witnessed, I’m sure they will do well in Biology. Keep on keeping on.