May 10, 2012
Jeanne and her family have recently been communicating with Jeanne's bone marrow donor, a young man from Germany who is scheduled to travel to Texas in September, 2011. Stay tuned for more updates when Jeanne and her donor meet later this summer.
To hear Jeanne's mom, Donaji, tell it you'd almost think her young daughter's leukemia and subsequent bone marrow transplant were a normal part of childhood.
From the time Donaji noticed Jeanne's leg was bothering her in June 2008 to a diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia, or AML, to a bone marrow transplant in early November 2008 just weeks before Jeanne's third birthday, the process went pretty much by the book.
"Everything went so smooth-;so fast-;so well, we cannot ask for more," Donaji says. "We could not be more pleased with what happened around us. The doctors and the nurses took us through it step by step without waiting. It all happened so fast we didn't really have time to process it. There was no time for pain, no time to suffer," Donaji says.
Transplant physicians Dr. Ka Wah Chan, Dr. Veronica Jude and Dr. Michael Grimley (who has since joined Cincinnati Children's Hospital) at the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Program at Texas Transplant Institute in San Antonio, Texas, were ready for Jeanne when she was referred by her pediatric hematologist/oncologist, Dr. Roberto Canales, in El Paso. They had found a perfect match for her (an unrelated bone marrow donor) and the family moved to San Antonio for Jeanne's transplant.
Despite some complications after her transplant, including idiopathic pneumonia syndrome and acute graft versus host disease of the skin and gut, Jeanne is now healthy, happy and doing great.
"She's fine. She's a normal kid, except that she takes medicine in the morning and at night," Donaji says.
And how does Jeanne feel about what she went through? "She understands what was wrong with her. She knows. She had beautiful, long hair before the transplant, and I had a nurse shave it off and she didn't care. She says she looks different, but she is happy with how she looks now."
The best part-;Jeanne's parents promised to get her a puppy after she was fully recovered. And since that summer, she and Buster, her new Chihuahua, have been inseparable.
Jeanne is followed every month in El Paso by her transplant physicians at the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Stem Cell Transplant satellite clinic.
Dr. Ka Wah Chan, Dr. Veronica Jude and Dr. Renee Madden are employed practitioners with Texas Transplant Physician Group.