By Alice Ortiz
AMORY – Amory High School junior Tyler Clay was diagnosed in February 2011 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). After successful chemotherapy, he went into remission in June of that year.
Unfortunately, he relapsed in July 2013 and the Clays were told that while chemo can keep AML at bay, the only way to get rid of it is with a bone marrow transplant.
When Tyler was first diagnosed two years ago, his mother, Julie; father, Mark; and brother, Clint Alan were all tested and they knew at that time that Clint Alan was a perfect match for Tyler.
“We are blessed that Clint Alan is a perfect match for Tyler. There is a 25 percent chance that a sibling will be a perfect match,” Julie said.
Tyler was admitted to the transplant unit on Oct. 8, where he will have high doses of chemo to deplete his immune system and blood levels before the actual transplant. The bone marrow transplant was scheduled for Oct. 15 at St. Jude Children Hospital.
Clint Alan, who is a sophomore at Itawamba Community College, will undergo minor testing before the surgery.
“They told Clint Alan that he would be sore for two to three days, or even a week from having the bone marrow pulled. They said it was like a bad fall on ice,” Julie said.
Tyler will have to be at St. Jude for 100 days. He will be in the hospital from 21-28 days, depending on how he does and then at the Target House for the rest of the time.
“The transfusion doesn’t scare you, it is the low counts and getting infections. Tyler will not have an immune system. There is nothing to fight infection and to be safe, he will be in the hospital for several weeks,” Julie said.
Tyler’s mother will be with him all the time. On weekends, either his father or brother will come and give her a little break.
“St Jude takes such good care of us. We ask everyone to be praying for us,” Julie said.
People can keep up with Tyler’s surgery and recovery on caringbridge.org. The site is updated regularly by Julie.