On June 16th I turned 25 years-old, well, actually it was 47 but it had been 25 years since one of the most traumatic but at the same time satisfying event of my life, a bone marrow transplant.
I was 18 years old when I was diagnosed, at the hospital in Cádiz, a chronic myeloid leukaemia. It was harsh news for me, being so young, but also for my family, who was always by my side.
At that time I was finishing High School and after the first treatments, which didn't make me feel too good, I was able to finish 12th grade, take my final exam and enter college. It was a good choice, for it helped me get distracted from my illness. I spent 4 years taking pills but living a normal life at home.
When the 5th year began to approach, the doctors decided they had to do a bone marrow transplant. The problem was I had just one sister. They did some tests and my sister turned out to be compatible with me. Even the staff at the laboratory of Granada cheered with champagne.
Now, I feel like everything went by very quickly, but what is most important is that my sister never doubted that she wanted to go on with the transplant, nor did her family. She was already a mother of two children, and 25 years have passed since all of this. Thankfully, there have been many advances since then!
They did the transplant in Cordoba, at the Reina Sofia Hospital, and when I was admitted to the hospital I was sent to an isolation camera. It was very hard being without my family for 29 days. I could only see them through the glasses which were so far away.
When the moment came, they took out the stem cells form my sister's bone marrow and as they filled the bags they brought them to me. I was sitting "calmly" in a room with another patient or doctor, I don't remember, who took care of me. What I remember best is the heat that entered my body thanks to the life that my sister was giving me.
Inmaculada and her sister, her donor
She got better quickly and I started to fabricate new cells after 15 days. Everything went very well, in fact, when I got out of the isolation camera, the doctor told me that my body had hardly noticed the transplant. So, little by little, I started to get better and I was finally sent back home, where everyone was waiting for me ready to hug me, although they still had to wait some time for my defences were very low.
My boyfriend was also there. We had only been going out for 5 months when I was diagnosed the illness and, 5 years later, we were still together. It was very brave for him to go on with the relationship, being so young.
I attended regular check-ups but, slowly, I continued my normal life and I was able to finish my career. In fact, I work as a teacher at an institute, and it had always been my dream.
Three years after the transplant, the doctor and my father of course, gave us permission to get married. This May has been our 22nd wedding anniversary and we have two fabulous children of ages 6 and 11, whom you can see in the picture.
Well, my story isn't over; there is still a lot to tell, because my life goes on and here I am to continue it.
Best regards for everyone!
If you want more information about the donation of bone marrow to help people like Inmaculada (and many other patients) to have the opportunity of a cure, click HERE. Remember that the donation of bone marrow is altruistic, anonymous, and universal. If you register as a bone marrow donor, you could be making a donation to a person from anywhere in the world. If you want more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on our free phone number (in Spain) 900 32 33 34.
You could also become a member of the José Carreras Foundation. With a little amount you could help us to continue our research.