Increasing numbers of children are being cured of their disease and surviving years after a stem cell transplant. The intensity of the treatment before, during, and after transplant can have major effects that do not become apparent for months or years. This section will describe a few of the major long-term side effects that sometimes develop after a transplant.
The transplant center was very clear about all of the potential problems. That was good, for it prepared me. My attitude is watch for them, hope they don't happen, but if they do, then live with them. JaNette has lost about 50 percent of her lung capacity, probably from the radiation. She has to do daily treatments to keep her lungs from tightening up. She still is on cyclosporin one-and-a-half years later and flares up with the GVHD rash periodically. She can no longer tolerate gamma globulin, so her counts go down sometimes and she gets pneumonia. I know that she may get cataracts, develop heart problems, and many other things. But she had an easy time with the transplant, she's a happy third-grader, she's alive, and we feel so, so very lucky.
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