Having a stem cell transplant is like switching your immune system off and on again to make things work. First comes a massive dose of chemotherapy (off) followed by a donor cell infusion (on). But it’s also a reboot for your whole life.
It leaves you feeling vulnerable, because your new immune system is very naïve, and you fatigue easily. It can be awkward to explain to others when you look OK.
It’s strange to know you have someone else’s blood running through your veins. My husband jokes that I could frame my sister for a crime!
Exercise is so important. Being fit before my diagnosis helped me through the treatment, and getting back into running is boosting my recovery both mentally and physically.
1,500 people in the UK need to find an unrelated stem cell transplant every year, but only 2% of the population are on the donor register and not everyone finds a match. Sign up – you could literally save a life!
About Katherine Murray
Katherine was training to be an ENT surgeon when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in November 2018. After chemotherapy didn't work as well as was hoped, she had a stem cell transplant in May 2019. She was extremely lucky that her sister was a perfect match, so she became her donor. Things seem to be going OK so far, and she’s enjoying life outside the hospital whilst studying for a MSc in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine. She’s celebrating post-transplant life on Instagram.
You can find more information on registering to be a potential stem cell donor here.