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“During the bone marrow transplant, there were some hard times, but the medical team helped us overcome them”

12 September 2017

Celeste’s mother, Xioli, explains her experience during her daughter’s treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Celeste came to Barcelona when she was three years old for treatment for paediatric acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. This patient, from Venezuela, had gone into remission with the treatment she received in her country. However, in order to consolidate the girl’s improvement, a haematopoietic stem cell transplant, also know as a bone marrow transplant, was recommended.

The haematology team in the Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation unit at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital liaised with the doctors at the hospital where Celeste had been treated in Venezuela, and the search for a compatible bone marrow donor began. In this case, Celeste’s father was the recommended donor, a complex option but one that was indicated as it enabled us to be sure that the transplant could be performed.

Two weeks after the stem cell infusion, a key moment in the treatment, Celeste experienced a common transplant complication called  graft-versus-host disease. The girl was accompanied by her parents at all times and the medical and psychological team assessed them during each stage. Xioli, the patient’s mother, says:

Despite the fact that things were serious, the level of support was such that we were able to remain calm throughout everything.

The coordinated work of the HSCT team and the Paediatric Intensive Care unit,  the nursing team and the psychosocial and educational care professionals were key in overcoming the difficulties. Celeste was discharged and returned to Venezuela, where she lives with her family. For the head of the HSCT unit at SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital, Isabel Badell, the rigorous post-transplant monitoring of patients is essential and helps to successfully overcome any complications the patient experiences.