If you are a candidate for a bone marrow transplant, you undoubtedly have many questions and a few fears. The dedicated team at the UCLA Health Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapies Program offers the support you and your family need as you prepare for transplant and during your recovery.
What to expect before bone marrow transplant
If you and your doctor decide BMT is the right choice for you, we will guide you through the process. You and your transplant team will meet many times over several weeks or longer. Read more about adult bone marrow transplant.
During your visits, we will discuss your options and evaluate the risks and benefits of a transplant. While you plan for the bone marrow transplant, we will work with you on:
- Health evaluation: You will come into the hospital for a complete medical history and physical exam. Your doctors will test your blood and organ functions and make sure you are healthy enough for the procedure.
- Finding a bone marrow donor: Your transplant team will work with you to find a donor who is the best possible match. We may test members of your family and search the National Marrow Donor Program registry. Using advanced techniques, we can perform successful transplants using donors who are not an exact match. In some cases, a child (although only a half genetic match) can donate to a parent.
- Financial considerations: You have the option to meet with a financial counselor who can discuss treatment costs. The counselor can tell you about what costs your insurance will cover and other options for paying for your transplant.
- Fertility preservation: The high doses of chemotherapy and radiation given before a bone marrow transplant can affect fertility. Many people want to preserve the option to have biological children. You may have several options for harvesting and freezing sperm or eggs before treatment.
- Conditioning: You’ll check into the hospital or outpatient clinic about 5 to 10 days before your bone marrow transplant. During this time, you will undergo the conditioning regimen to prepare your body. Most people have several doses of chemotherapy, full-body radiation or both. Those treatments are used to weaken or destroy cancer cells and unhealthy bone marrow and give healthy new cells a fresh start.
Preparing for bone marrow transplant
You’ll want to do everything you can to optimize your health and well-being before a bone marrow transplant. We encourage you to consider these details as you prepare:
- Diet: It’s important to get your body ready. You can support your health by staying hydrated and eating a diet that’s as healthy as possible. Getting enough calories and nutrients each day will be essential for keeping your strength up throughout the process.
- Exercise: A strong body responds better and recovers faster. Do what you can to keep active before your transplant.
- Designate a caregiver: You want to be able to give your full attention and energy to your recovery. It’s essential to have a friend or family member who can help with other details. This person needs to be available to be with you throughout the transplant and recovery process. Your caregiver will help you physically, give you medications, prepare food and provide emotional support.
- Living arrangements: Whether you have a transplant as an inpatient or outpatient, you will want to think ahead to where you will live during recovery. One convenient option is UCLA Tiverton House, a 100-room hotel close to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. You and your family can stay in comfort while you recover. And you will be a short, free shuttle ride away from the hospital for your follow-up care.
In addition, there are several other housing options available in the Westwood area. Our team will be happy to explore these with you further.
Learn more about what to expect during recovery from bone marrow transplant.
To make an appointment with our Adult Blood and Bone Marrow & Cellular Therapies Program, please call 310-206-6909.