Leukemia Update – Day 67
It’s been over a month since I wrote about my bout with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, so I wanted to give an update.
After discovering that my blood count numbers were out the bottom, at my annual physical in February, I went through more testing, including a bone marrow biopsy. Then on the morning of March 15, I got The Call. My doctor explained that the tests were clear, and I had AML. So I reported to the leukemia center at Northside Hospital, and began treatment.
After a lot of testing, I went through an intense round of chemotherapy, and about 4 weeks in the hospital, before my immune system had rebounded from the chemo enough that I could go home. Even then, I visited the leukemia clinic at Northside every day or every other day.
My 2 most recent bone marrow biopsies show no cancer cells, so I am officially in remission. But history has shown that my kind of leukemia always comes back, maybe a year, maybe 3 years, maybe 10, but always.
So I have started more treatments to keep it away. First was another round of chemo, which was actually done at the clinic, and at home. I’m coming back from it now, and I feel great.
Next is a bone marrow transplant, scheduled for June 16. I am blessed by God to have found an almost perfect match. Now, on my end the transplant will be just another IV infusion. For the donor, he will be put under, in the operating room, and the doctors will go after his hip bones with a big drill.
Then, when I get his marrow, it will replace mine completely, since we also plan to do another chemo treatment on me, leaving no marrow at all. Then his marrow implants in my bones, and when it comes back, I have cancer free marrow, and I’m done.
Except . . .
Think about it – I now have a new immune system, which likely sees my organs as a foreign body, and could attack it. This is called graft versus host disease, or GVHD, and is the number one thing I will have to take care of, for the rest of my life. With a good match like mine, serious GVHD is unlikely statistically, but even minor GVHD like skin, requires treatment.
But all that beats dying from leukemia, so I’m up for it.
All during this, my family and friends have been so supportive, and the medical staff could not be more professional and thorough. Add to that my faith – letting God lead with me following – and I am prepared to do what I have to do.