Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Here We Go Again

Just got back from my checkup at the hospital. Two important bits of news:

(1) My remission was short-lived; the blast cells were back in their mutated, overgrown state (geek ref: I call them uruk-hai blasts) and up to the counts they were at before I started chemo before. So now I do a re-induction, which is the same two chemo treatments as last time, compressed into five days (instead of seven), along with another, concurrent chemo treatment. We're about to find out if I can handle this chemo as well as I did the first round.

(2) Tamu's marrow is not a match for mine, which means the next step is
to scope out the Héma-Québec registry. As a reminder for those
interested in potentially donating marrow, deets are here and here.

Some Qs and their accompanying As:

Q: Is this really bad news?

A: Not really, if you consider it statistically. The best scenario, of course, would be for me to still be in remission. However, according to the hematologist who's been handling my case all this time, re-induction occurs in 30-40% of all cases. So it's not that uncommon.

Q: Are you going to spend another month in the hospital?

A: Only if things don't go well. Assuming I do as awesomely as last time and I don't experience fevers and I'm not neutropenic for too long, I should be out of there in about two weeks.

Q: If chemo is five days, why are you there for two weeks?

A: The chemo doesn't just wipe out the cancerous blast cells, it wipes out white blood cells (leukocytes) and neutrophils as well, which are the backbone of the body's immune system. The remaining time spent in the hospital is for my body to build itself back up, and to make sure I don't catch anything while my defenses are down. For example, while I was in hospital for 28 days for the first induction, the chemo itself was only in the first seven days.

Q: When does your new hospital stay begin?

A: Tomorrow morning, after my bone marrow biopsy.

Q: Doesn't this mean you'll miss the fourth-season premiere of Lost?

A: Dammit! You didn't have to remind me.

I'm off to pack now, and otherwise prepare for the battle ahead. Cue shouting, sweaty Spartans in 300, the theme from Rocky, cool Matrix outfits, etc. Though maybe not all at the same time.

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