Sickle Cell Anemia Patient From Kenya Successfully Treated by Bone Marrow Transplant in India
Let’s meet Joseph!
Joseph is the son of Wilson and Christine from Kenya, Africa. He was diagnosed with sickle cell disease when he was 3 months old.
Before Joseph was born, neither Christine nor Wilson was aware that they carried the sickle cell traits, which increased Joseph’s risk of contracting the disease by 25%. Out of 7 children, Christine and Wilson have two older kids Christine and Wilson also have two more older kids Paul and Doreen, both of them are healthy, but they also are carriers of the sickle cell trait.
Joseph has experienced severe sickness as a result of sickle cell. He was diagnosed with an acute chest infection at the age of 9 months. Additionally, he has experienced severe episodes of pneumonia and acute chest syndrome, a condition produced by sickling in the lungs that are typical in sickle cell disease patients. This syndrome majorly leads to respiratory problems and lung infections.
What is Sickle Cell Anemia?
A manifestation of the genetic blood condition of sickle cell disease is sickle cell anaemia. Your red blood cells are affected by SCA, which changes them from flexible round discs into hard, sticky sickled cells. Red blood cells are prevented from doing their job of transporting oxygen throughout your body by sickled cells. Normal red blood cells have a longer lifespan than sickled cells. You therefore experience anaemia, which is the condition that gives sickle cell anaemia its name, because you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells.
As mentioned by Joseph,” For 12 years, I have lived sickle cell disease.
When I reflect on my life with sickle cell (SC), I recall closing my eyes on the first day of kindergarten to see if I was experiencing any pain. No, I didn’t. I felt completely normal at the time. I would not really experience that emotion again for a while.
My second memory was a nurse giving me a shot, and being surprised I didn’t cry or even flinch. I strongly urged her that crying over things you can not change was pointless. I accepted the fact that I would have to endure sickle cell pain for the rest of my life”.
When I was in high school, every morning began with turning off the alarm, rolling over, and swallowing a bunch of pills, including oxycodone, penicillin, and hydroxyurea. For pain management, I even carried the pills to school.
As Doreen (Sister) mentioned,” I remember sitting down to dinner with my family. My dad said, “Joseph’s doctor told me about “ Bone Marrow Transplantation” procedure. Joseph’s chronic blood disorder can only be treated in this manner, and it will allow him to resume living a normal life.
I didn’t know what a “transplant” was. I was looking forward to graduation and applying to colleges. I had a life. I didn’t want to interrupt my plans for a “transplant.”
Then one-day Joseph had a pain crisis that landed him in the hospital. His doctors told us that he had to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life. Then they couldn’t find a vein. I thought about a life in and out of hospitals, all the needles, all pills, all the pain that my small brother has to go through.
At that point, our family started taking Joseph’s bone marrow transplant very seriously.
What is Bone Marrow Transplantation?
During a blood or bone marrow transplant (BMT), damaged blood-forming cells are replaced with healthy ones. Blood-forming cells, also known as blood stem cells, are immature cells that develop into platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. They are located in the bone marrow, which is a soft substance inside your bones. When they reach maturity, they leave the bone marrow and move into the blood.
To eliminate the diseased cells and marrow before transplant, you receive chemotherapy (chemo) and perhaps radiation. You are then given the healthy cells. BMT is not a typical surgery. With the use of an intravenous (IV) catheter or tubing, the new cells enter your bloodstream. It is comparable to receiving blood or medication through an IV. The cells then enter your bone marrow from there.
Read More – Management of Sickle Cell Disease in Pregnancy
How they reached India
As per words from Doreen, “My father began looking for the best hospitals for a bone marrow transplant procedure online. Google brought us to the Medsurge India Platform. The Medsurge india team explained the treatment strategy to us in detail, and they set up a quick video consultation with Dr. Vikas Dua (Hematologist) from Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurgaon, India. He is curing people with sickle cell disease. The doctor carefully reviewed Joseph’s blood test reports and discussed about the symptoms.
He advised us to travel to India right away. The MedsurgeIndia team met us at the airport when we arrived in India and took us to the Fortis hospital the following day to meet the doctor and the rest of the team. We discussed Joseph’s condition and the results of his recent blood tests there. Dr. Dua continued to discuss what it entailed, including treatment, isolation, and possible adverse effects.
At first, it sounded difficult. But they wanted us to be aware of what to expect. All we desired was for Joseph to feel better. We only cared about two things: how Joseph could live a normal, healthy life in the future and whether you could tr eat his sickle cell condition.
Fortunately for Joseph, Paul was a true blood brother donor and a perfect 10/10 HLA match. That is where Joseph’s medical treatment began and the transplant took place. Thanks to the Medsurge India team for their round-the-clock assistance during the transplant. Without them, it could not have been done by us. The language barrier made us feel even more terrified.
Know More – HLA Test: Purpose, Procedure, Interpretation
For the bone marrow transplant to be effective, it took us approximately 3 to 4 months to complete the process. Luckily the outcome was very smooth, as joseph did not face any complications. During his recovery period, he started being involved in regular daily activities.
His treatment outcomes are carefully monitored by the doctor and his staff. Overall, Joseph did not experience any significant pain or discomfort during the procedure.
The members of the Medsurge India team were very humble and helpful and they always remain in touch with us. They even arranged very warm accommodation near to the hospital for our family. They dropped us off at the airport after the therapy was over.
Thank you Note from Joseph and his Family:
We are really grateful to the Medsurge India team for helping us in giving Joseph a new, healthy life. Without your assistance, it would be quite difficult for us to complete the procedure in India. Joseph said ” You gave me this new life, and my family and I will always be grateful to you for that”.