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Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner undergoes bone-marrow transplant

July 10, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner Robert L. Thomas underwent a bone-marrow transplant this week and is expecting to start another round of chemotherapy Friday.
File photo

BALTIMORE, Md. — Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner Robert L. Thomas underwent a bone-marrow transplant this week and is expecting to start another round of chemotherapy Friday.

Thomas, 58, announced May 17 that he had been diagnosed with the blood- and bone-marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome.

He said tests began to show a steady decline in his blood platelets a little over a year ago.

His daughter, Bobbie Brown, donated a liter of bone marrow and blood Tuesday morning.

“Doctors reported no complications or harvest issues,” Thomas wrote in an email Wednesday after his daughter was discharged.

Thomas described feeling as if he is in the “quiet before the storm” prior to chemotherapy and waiting for his daughter’s marrow to multiply and create new platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells.

“After hooking up a gravity drip to my port, one of my nurses said, ‘Happy birthday’ to me as Bobbie’s blood and marrow began flowing,” Thomas said.

The transplant lasted about four hours, he said.

Thomas asked for continued prayer.

It is not the first time Thomas has been treated for a blood disorder. In January 2010, he was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and received treatment at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

Thomas curtailed his public schedule before he was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and participated in a commissioners’ meeting by telephone. He said doctors cautioned him to not get a virus or infection prior to the transplant.

Myelodysplastic syndrome occurs when the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. Being tired and easy bruising or bleeding are among the symptoms, the NCI website said.

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