Another lazy Sunday here at Princess Margaret. Spent most of the day outside on the roof because the weather was so beautiful.
Count came down again today, to 2.0. I also talked with the on call doctor today, who happened to be one of the doctors who dealt with me when I first arrived and things were hectic; when they weren’t sure if I had AML or ALL (AML meant a high likelihood of not making it, given my extremely high white count). Since then, he’s been monitoring my blood work and has been very kind when I see him around. He explained a lot about what remission really is, because apparently it’s not getting to 0 white blood cells in the blood. Apparently “complete remission” (the first layer of remission) is having bone marrow with fewer than 5% blast cells. Blast cells are cells in the bone marrow that just divide. One of the cells from each division will go on to develop to become a white blood cell. So their job is to keep dividing to ensure that more white blood cells can be created. With my disease, the blasts turn cancerous and start going crazy and keep dividing when they’re not meant to, and so white blood cells continue to cram into the blood stream until it looks like the 401 on a Sunday evening in July.
Anyway, so the amount of blast cells in the bone marrow is more important than the concentration of white blood cells in the blood, because it’s the blasts that are cancerous. The white cell count in the blood is more used as an indicator of what is going on with the bone marrow. This doctor (I actually don’t know his name, which is a little embarrassing) seemed to think that the downward trend of my count after this second blast of chemo is a good sign, and we might see remission. So it looks like this second dose of chemo might have been enough. While I hope he’s right, I’m not counting my chickens quite yet. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I hope my attempted explanation of my situation is somewhat clear. I think it’s accurate, I’ll do some more research and talk to my regular doctor (Dr. Anna) about it tomorrow.
Surprisingly, I haven’t really felt any symptoms from the second round of chemo, which is nice (knock on wood). I figured I would at least get some more mouth sores but even those haven’t shown up. Back and shoulder pain is still persistent but more of a nuisance now than a hindrance. I was taken off the arthritis medication so now I just get a small dose of morphine before bed because the pain is quite noticeable while lying down trying to sleep.
This week we find out if one of my brothers is a full bone marrow match. Keep your fingers crossed for me please!
7 thoughts on “July 3rd, 2016”
Yes, your explanation was clear. I liked the 401 analogy. Prayers on the bone marrow match. Love from Texas, Sharon and Randy.
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Very well explained Ethan.
I know a fair bit about this stuff already as my best friend had AML.
I was so relieved when I found out yours was ALL.. Keep fighting and do your best to keep your sense of humour.
Sue (my son played hockey with Colin)
Happy Monday, Ethan!
Thanks for the update and tutorial on AML vs ALL.
I pity Dr. Anna when you are armed with your research 🙂
We all know how hard you are fighting!
It will be good to hear news on whether Colin or Spencer is a match – here’s hoping.
Mark is in Sudbury visiting, in case you were wondering where he’s at.
We know that the Internet is spotty at PMH, but are hoping at some point for a FaceTime.
Sending you positive vibes, healing thoughts and our love.
Uncle Brian + Auntie Debbie
Hi Uncle Brian,
Tell Mark I say hi
Sure thing, I’ll try and see if the wifi will let me FaceTime but I think it should
Thanks for the note!
You are speaking like a Dr already!
Just wanted you to know we are all cheering for you here . Griff planning to come by and show you his big padded sling soon .
Keep up the fight !
XoMona Dennis Jake and Griff
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Ethan, we are keeping our fingers crossed for you here at OTPP (colleagues of your father) while you are waiting for the verdict on bone marrow match. Really hoping for the positive result.
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Your brother Colin is a good friend of my son Tyson, and is a regular figure in the household. He has been keeping us up to date with your progress (we had a family member with ALL, they are now in CR and doing great 2 years post the maintenance phase, so all good.) Colin has eluded to you being “pretty brainy”…in reading your posts, that’s clearly an understatement. Your writing reflects your optimism and considerable knowledge, keep on posting, you have no idea how many people ask how you are doing and are waiting to hear your next step towards a full recovery. You’re in great hands there at PMH. All the best
Hayley, Daniel, Tyson and Kenzie (Kash)