Family: Teen doing well after cancer therapy
WIESBADEN, Germany — A former Wiesbaden High School student who underwent a bone marrow transplant last month in the United States is doing remarkably well, according to his father and a teacher.
For those unfamiliar with the ups and downs of cancer treatment, and, in Andrew Vickers’ case, lymphoma, talk of biopsies, platelets and cell counts can seem technical and confusing. But the results of numerous tests conducted after the March 7 transplant indicates he is making tremendous progress.
Apparently it can take years for a person’s body to make the conversion from the old bone marrow to the new.
“Many patients will hover at 90-95 percent donor and 5-10 percent recipient marrow for countless years,” Andrew’s father, Army Master Sgt. Carl Vickers, said Thursday in an online journal entry.
“Andrew, on the other hand, has already converted to 100 percent donor marrow. … The physicians were overjoyed to learn this.”
The 16-year-old left Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., on March 26. Since the operation, he has been regaining not only his hunger and hair but also his humor. The teen is known for his dry wit and has been playing jokes on his aunt and grandmother, and ribbing his parents about one thing or another.
“I’ve never been depressed before,” Andrew wrote a few weeks ago. “When I was diagnosed, I had a psychiatrist ask me flat-out: ‘How depressed are you?’ We basically lit him up. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him since.”
Andrew’s schoolmates at Wiesbaden haven’t seen him since August, when a comment he made to a doctor during a routine sports physical set in motion a series of tests that ultimately detected cancer.
A track and field athlete, the high school junior immediately found himself negotiating a course full of twists and turns.
The Army granted Carl Vickers a compassionate reassignment to allow his son to receive care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Back in Wiesbaden, teachers and students organized a support group to cheer Andrew on as he undertook the race of his life.
Occasionally, usually on Fridays, dozens of students don bright yellow T-shirts to demonstrate their solidarity. This week, they plan to do it again.
“He’s really, really doing well,” said Sue Krummrei, one of Andrew’s former teachers at Wiesbaden. “I just think it is kind of stunning. He’s reclaiming his life.”