I’m still at home.
We went in for blood samples and to meet with the lead doctor this afternoon. They’re seeing slow recovery of the bone marrow from the chemo treatment, and some reduction in the leukemia cell count. They want to give it another week or two to see how things progress. They also want to line things up should they reach a final decision that a bone marrow transplant is necessary to really combat the disease.
From the bone marrow samples taken last week, the apirate (liquid) showed a reduction to 4% of leukemia cells, meaning it’s technically in remission. However, the bone marrow biopsy (solid) had some instances which they want to test further, since apparently the growth hormone shots (Neupogen) I’d been doing can skew those parts of the results.
Platelets were up to 50 (yay!), white cells around 1.2, and neutrophils were at 0.8. On Friday, we go for another blood draw so they can see how my numbers are behaving (and hope for further improvement). They also want to see if they need to give me Neupogen to boost neutrophils through the weekend to Tuesday next week.
Another biopsy will come either next week or the week after, depending in part on the numbers that they get on Friday and on the following Tuesday. They want to see if the biopsy results change after giving it more time. We meet with the lead doctor again on that Tuesday to learn more.
A further round of chemo will come some time in the next few weeks (less than 6 weeks), but we don’t yet know when.
The word “transplant“
Since my body didn’t respond quickly to the first round of chemo, and even after this one it’s showing itself to be a slow pace of recovery, they are beginning the process of considering a bone marrow transplant later down the line. (Some time after the next round of chemo.) If they decide this is necessary, they want to have already begun looking for a match. (Sadly, my brother isn’t, but apparently that’s generally low odds.)
Today they’re sending a formal letter to the doctor at St James’s Hospital here in Dublin, which is where transplants are actually done. They need to start the process now so things are set up if they find that chemo treatments aren’t doing the job. They also want to get a second opinion about their findings.
We’ve only just begun to process this in our heads.