The year she started elementary school Aysel came down with a very serious illness, fanconi aplastic anemia… For seven years they sought a solution to her problem everywhere from Mersin to Ankara to Antalya. At the point where it became inevitable that she would have to have a bone marrow transplantation, her life changed when her family heard about the Acibadem Adana Hospital Bone Marrow Transplantation Center. Now she is a child whose eyes look to the future with hope…
Sometimes more than one life fits into a tiny lifetime and a mother is given the chance to provide her child with new life… Emine and Bayram Şirin are a couple, both of whom are 42 years old. Bayram works in farming and his spouse is a housewife. They life in the Tarsus district of Mersin. They have five children, three of which are boys. The story we are about to tell on these pages belong to their fourth child Aysel…
The name of Aysel’s disease is “Fanconi Aplastic Anemia”. Since their bone marrow cannot produce all of the components of blood patients need to have a bone marrow transplantation. The erythrocytes and platelets that comprise blood are given by these means to the patients. However, because the white blood cells that affect the immune system cannot be given to the patients, they are constantly susceptible to diseases. Treatment is provided through marrow transplants. If these patients are not given a marrow transplant they are lost to infection, heavy bleeding or severe anemia. On the other hand the most pleasing results of bone marrow transplants can be obtained in the treatment of this disease.
Aysel is one of the patients who was able to achieve pleasing results. The seven years of difficulties she went through changed at the Acibadem Adana Hospital Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, which provides services under the management of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Bülent Antmen.
Aysel was first introduced to this illness in elementary school… She started having problems when she started first grade. She was monitored for a long time by specialists in the Mersin State Hospital and Mersin University Medical Faculty. Due to constant infections and the need for blood transfusions she missed a lot of school. Eventually the blood being supplemented from outside became insufficient and when it became obvious that she needed a marrow transplant she was sent to Ankara by doctors. When her family members were tested tissue types it turned out that her mother was a 100 percent match. This is when they gained hope… Unfortunately this is also the point at which the little girl’s health began to deteriorate. When the marrow transplant centers in Samsun and Antalya were recommended the family chose Antalya since they had relatives there. Father Bayram Şirin said, “We were going to Antalya twice a month. I no longer had the finances. When we ran out of money our treatment was interrupted. No matter what I put everything I had into this”.
During these comings and goings Aysel’s health deteriorated along with their financial situation. Her life was in danger due to infections. The long term cortisone treatment had caused her bones to deteriorate. When epileptic seizures started Aysel was hospitalized in Adana in intensive care. As her father describes what they went through he stops to say “We had lost all hope for Aysel, but now we are so very grateful. There were many days that we were so sad but now it’s all over. The world became ours when Aysel recovered”. When describing the bad, difficult days he speaks fast but when describing the days after the transplantation he emphasizes every word. At that time a friend mentioned the newly opened marrow transplantation center in the Acibadem Adana Hospital to them. It was enough for Aysel, who had a “green card”, to be taken out of this category and moved to the healthcare provided by the state to children under 18 to be able to benefit from this treatment. After being monitored for some time at this hospital Aysel clung to life with new strength after her bone marrow transplant from her mother on February 19, 2014.
She gave new life to her child. Mother Emine Şirin is happy to have been able to give her child a new chance at life. “Aysel is fine now, praise be. Her marrow is producing blood. She is producing white and red blood cells” she says excitedly. She describes her child’s longing for school after missing so much time. They are now much more hopeful about the future.
The main wish of Aysel, who missed a lot of school due to her disease, is to continue her education. Even though she cannot go to school she often visits her teacher, who must have a positive effect on her making her exclaim “I want to be a teacher when I grow up” when she describes her plans for the future.
Prof. Dr. Bülent Antmen, who lead the bone marrow transplant team that gave Aysel and her family new hope, said the following: “When Aysel first came to us her general condition was very bad. She had osteolysis and was having epileptic seizures. We first got her ready for a bone marrow transplant. Then we transplanted bone marrow from her mother. She stayed in our unit for 40 days and then we discharged her. Aysel’s life was saved with this transplant. She no longer needs to get blood transfusions. Her hospital dependence is over. She has no infection. We will monitor her for another six months, then after stopping all the medication she will be able to start a normal life. Aysel smiles now, she is starting a brand new life.”
WHAT IS A BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION?
Bone marrow transplantations, which play a key role in the treatment of many different diseases, are divided into two as allogenic and autologous. The bone marrow that is obtained from a sibling or relative is called an allogenic transplant. In autologous transplants the marrow is obtained from the patient and given back to their body after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Another type of bone marrow transplant, although rare, is when bone marrow is transplanted from one twin to another. This is called a syngenetic bone marrow transplant.
Depending on the source that the transplanted stem cells are obtained from, marrow transplants are divided into three methods which are peripheric, stem cell and cord blood. Peripheric stem cell transplantation is realized by using the stem cells that are collected from the person through special processes and devices called apheresis devices. Stem cells are obtained from bone marrow in an operating room. The stem cells that are obtained from cord blood are supplied from banks where blood is collected from donors.