LIANE HANSEN, Host:
Now, the good news: Maya found a match. Her mother, Dr. Mina Chamberlin, joins us on the phone from Cincinnati once again. Welcome back to the program.
MINA CHAMBERLIN: Thank you, Liane.
HANSEN: How are you?
CHAMBERLIN: We're doing well. Much better since the last time I spoke with you, yes.
HANSEN: Well, the last time we spoke you were talking about how hard it would be to find an exact donor match for Maya because she is of mixed-race heritage. What happened after our interview?
CHAMBERLIN: Unfortunately, soon after the marrow engrafted - an engraftment basically means the donor cells are growing within the recipient's bone marrow - over a period of two weeks, the graft failed, meaning her body rejected the graft.
CHAMBERLIN: Much to our blessing, there was another donor available who was also very willing to donate. She too was a partial match, not a full match. Maya underwent a much harsher form of chemotherapy with many more side effects. May 11th she underwent her second transplant, and fortunately this one engrafted. And so far, she has remained at 100 percent engraftment.
HANSEN: Yeah, you sound a little relieved. Is Maya recovering well now?
CHAMBERLIN: And there are many, many complications that come with bone marrow transplants - infections being the major one, since they are so immuno-compromised. I mean, they have the cells but they're still immature. They're not ready to fight any kind of infection just yet.
HANSEN: But so far, so good?
CHAMBERLIN: So far, so good, yes. I mean, we have minor issues but those are so minor in the big scheme of things that I'm not even going to address it as a problem.
HANSEN: Do you know anything about the donor, the second donor, whose marrow actually took, engrafted?
CHAMBERLIN: Yeah. All I know is she's a 39-year-old female somewhere in this country. That's all I know.
HANSEN: Yeah. She's given your kid a chance to be a kid again, yeah?
CHAMBERLIN: Exactly. And when I talked to you last time, my future was unknown and now we have hope. On July 3rd, we celebrated Maya's fifth birthday. A few months ago we didn't even know what would happen, where we would be on July 3rd. And we had a very, very joyous celebration on July 3rd.
HANSEN: You talked about the difficulty of the transplant and all the chemo that Maya had to go through. In fact, on your blog, you write that Maya has really had to spend most of the last year in the hospital, yeah. How has that affected her?
CHAMBERLIN: You know, despite being in the hospital I can tell you Maya has flourished intellectually and physically. She has kept herself very, very occupied by reading books. I'm proud to say she's reading at third-grade level, according to her preschool teacher. She did not let the side effects from the chemotherapy stop her from doing things that she really enjoyed to do, and that's reading and art work.
HANSEN: Ah, yeah.
CHAMBERLIN: And it is that spirit that kept us going.
HANSEN: Dr. Mina Chamberlin. She's the mother of Maya Chamberlin, a five-year- old girl who's recovering from a bone marrow transplant. She joins us on the phone from Cincinnati. Thank you. Good luck.
CHAMBERLIN: Thank you very much, Liane.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.