GLADSTONE - A Cornell man who underwent a bone marrow transplant this spring is doing well despite some common issues related to the procedure.
Jeff DeBacker, 58, underwent a bone marrow transplant in early March and has been home for a few weeks now, said his sister, Debbie Chase of Gladstone, who was the bone marrow donor for her sibling.
"The transplant went very well," Chase said. "He was able to come home now, but he goes back every week to Detroit for blood tests."
Nearly three years ago, DeBacker was diagnosed with a blood disease known as mantle cell lymphoma. After treating the stage 4 disease with chemotherapy, he was cleared of the cancer for about two years. Last fall, the cancer returned.
DeBacker underwent more chemotherapy at Marquette General Hospital and underwent a new cancer treatment procedure - a stem cell bone marrow transplant - at Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Following a period of isolation and a few weeks of outpatient care, DeBacker was released from the hospital and allowed to go home, sooner than any other patient who has undergone the transplant procedure at the downstate hospital, said Chase.
"He has some issues with eating. He's lost a lot of weight - over 40 pounds," she added, explaining that skin and digestive system problems are not uncommon with the bone marrow transplant. He also has his blood monitored and receives virus-protection treatments on his lungs.
"We assume the cancer is gone. We're real optimistic. He can't be tested yet until he's stronger," she said, adding her brother is happy to be home.
When contacted Wednesday, DeBacker was on his way downstate for tests. He said he's feeling pretty good and that he's trying to gain back some of the 43 pounds he's lost. He anticipates his recovery period to last about a year.
While under medical care downstate, DeBacker was worried about his responsibilities at his game ranch in Cornell, where clients hunt boar, deer, elk and buffalo, Chase said. A law went into affect April 1 - a month after his transplant - that Russian and Eurasian boars are considered invasive species and must be removed from the state.
According to Debbie Munson-Badini, spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources, the majority of wild boar ranchers have complied with the law and consented to property inspections. Ranchers have increased their hunts to get rid of the boars they have, slaughtered the animals for meat, or sold them to out-of-state buyers, she said. Property owners had 15 months to comply with the order.
"So far, we're working with them to get a compliance plan on a case-by-case basis," Munson-Badini explained, declining to specifically comment on the DeBacker ranch due to his pending legal action against the state.
Munson-Badini added there are a few litigation cases pending in relation to the new boar law. Court action has also been sought by the state against ranches that are not in compliance and have refused voluntary inspections, she added.
Because of rumors going around the state, Munson-Badini clarified the new law applies only to the Russian boar and Eurasian boar, and not other pigs.
There have been no raids on properties and there have been no arrests in connection with the new law, according to the DNR website. The DNR has not violated anyone's constitutional rights or killed any swine in enforcing the new invasive species order, the website said.