Monday, May 12, 2008

Remiss on Remission

I've been meaning to write an update for the last two weeks, but I haven't really had much chance to sit still. So, with zero ado, here's the news.

We walked into my hematologist's office for my regular weekly checkup on the 30th, and she gave us the bad news: the previous week's blood smear revealed enough blast cells to make it clear that I wasn't in remission. (Or, possibly, that I was in remission for a very short while. Those cells weren't always there.)

It's vexing, because it almost feels like I've been going through chemo and away from home for nothing. That's not true, of course, but it is a bit frustrating when you find yourself pretty much back where you started, but with less hair and a few lingering mouth sores. (By the way, my hair is returning and my mouth is just fine, thanks.)

Mind you, this situation wasn't entirely a surprise. A few weeks back, while I was still in the hospital, my hematologist and I were discussing monosomy 7. It was her opinion that it was the monosomy 7 that had kept me from going into remission the first two times, and she said it was possible that it might prevent me from going into remission this time around. It appears that was the case.

The question now is, where do we go from here? Three possibilities are some other form of treatment, a bone marrow transplant before remission, or a double cord blood transplant. (Cord blood transplants come from banked umbilical cord blood, and have their own advantages and disadvantages.) These and other possibilities are being explored, and since my leukemia appears manageable, we have time to examine these other options—which is what we've been doing these past few weeks, along with stumping for more people to register as potential bone marrow donors.

So it's a good news-bad news thing. On the outside I look fine, and in truth I feel fine. But inside I'm still messed up. More news as we get it.

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