Heather is home at last after transplant

THANKS: Heather Parkinson and her sister Shelley Watson
THANKS: Heather Parkinson and her sister Shelley Watson

A Leyland woman fighting cancer is back at home after undergoing a life-saving transplant from her sister.

Heather Parkinson, 28, of Queensway, has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which chemotherapy was failing to beat even after months of gruelling treatment.

Now, she has undergone a cell stem transplant for which her sister Shelley Watson was the donor.

Following the procedure at Manchester’s Christie Hospital, Heather has been extremely poorly as her body has been stripped of all immunity leaving her susceptible to infections.

However, Heather is now back and although she will not know whether the transplant has been a success until a few months time when she has a bone marrow biopsy, doctors are pleased with her progress.

Heather is now determined to remain upbeat and positive and hopes the procedure has been successful in turning her life around.

She also revealed that the transplant means her immune system is now the same as a newborn baby and she has to build it up from scratch.

Heather said: “It was hard straight after the transplant as I was stuck inside a hospital room for weeks and felt so unwell and exhausted.

“I even ended up having my 28th birthday while in hospital and all I had the energy to do was open my cards and then spend the rest of the day sleeping!

“I had some really bad days, but I picked myself up and told myself this was just a small part in my road to recovery.

“It is wonderful to be back home and have some normality, but I still feel shattered. It is now 20 days since the cell stem transplant and I have the same immune system as a 20-day-old baby.

“I will have to have all my childhood immunisations all over again as I am starting from scratch with a new immune system.

“Hopefully, if the transplant has been a success, the bone marrow biopsy will show that Shelley’s stem cells have taken and are fighting the cancer to prevent it from coming back.”

Heather was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 19 after suffering from a cough which wouldn’t go.

She managed to beat the disease with chemotherapy, but around 18 months ago, she discovered a lump in her neck and tests revealed the cancer had returned.

However it didn’t respond to chemotherapy.

The best chances for success with a cell stem cell transplant is using a sibling donor.