GOLTRY, Okla. —
Woman gives brother special birthday present
Jeni Sumner poses with her brother, Ed Dee, in a Milwaukee hospital. Sumner donated stem cells to her brother, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. (Photo provided)
A Goltry-area woman is back on Oklahoma soil after traveling to Milwaukee to give her brother a special birthday present.
Jeni Sumner was the only match among family members tested to donate stem cells to her younger brother, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia last year.
Ed Dee’s cancer went into remission last October but returned earlier this year. Sumner said Dee’s doctors felt a stem cell transplant would be the best treatment.
Sumner spoke by phone about the events of the past week, as she prepared to return to Oklahoma on Thursday morning.
The transplant began at 2:07 p.m. Tuesday — Dee’s birthday — and took about an hour, she said.
“We had a little birthday party for him and then he got my present,” Sumner said.
Prior to the transplant, Dee went through chemotherapy and had a “conditioning treatment,” which Sumner said entailed the doctors wiping out his immune system and blood levels.
Sumner had to give herself injections over four days to make her bone marrow produce more stem cells and push them into her blood.
“Those went really well,” she said.
The stem cell retrieval process was on Monday.
“The stem cell retrieval went perfect. I mean, I gave enough stem cells that I didn’t have to come back the second day,” she said.
Sumner said a line was put in her right arm to draw the blood out. The blood went through a machine — to separate the stem cells from her blood — before it was returned to her body through another line in her left arm.
“The hardest part was I had to remember I couldn’t bend my arms,” she said.
From start to finish, the retrieval process took a little more than five hours.
“You’re laying in a nice comfortable bed, I had friends and family and everybody there, there’s TVs,” Sumner said. “They warm your blood before they put it back into you, so I wasn’t even cold.