Saturday, January 21, 2017

Memory, Counting, Anniversery

It has been two months since I posted an update so this is a challenge for my waning memory. Yesterday was the completion of five consecutive days of chemotherapy.  Today is "66". That is day 6 of cycle 6. My chemo cycles consist of 28 or 35 days depending on my doctor's evaluation of my blood test counts and my overall response to the treatment. The first four cycles of the current protocol were different than cycle 5 and 6. The difference in types and frequency of the treatments changed last month giving my body a break and change from getting too much of the same chemo drug each month. All in all I have tolerated these cycles fairly well. Twice a week blood is drawn for constant monitoring and testing. My blood counts, while up and down from week to week, have trended steady overall. I think I've been transfused with with red cells and platelets twice each in the past two months with 2 units each time. White cells do not get transfused. However, when necessary, injections of white cell booster drugs have given me temporary improvement. I'm scheduled for another one of these shots next week as my white cells usually drop to very dangerous levels around day 10 to 12.

About eight days ago I had another bone marrow aspiration procedure. That was 21 times since January 2014, but who's counting?  The analysis and report of bone marrow tests is very complex and complicated making it difficult for the average patient/layperson to understand. However, my understanding is that my bone marrow has been positively affected by these latest six cycles of chemotherapy. My medical team continues to be pleased with my progress. I accept and appreciate their optimism realizing none of this is curative. Rather this treatment goal is for improved quality of life. Maintenance or Salvage chemotherapy is what they often call this plan.

Three years ago on this same date I was given a preliminary diagnosis of a blood disease. The next day I had my first bone marrow aspiration/biopsy confirming my leukemia diagnosis as MDS. So this marks my 3rd anniversary of our fight. Surviving this long is uncommon given the bleak classification of my disease. MD Anderson Cancer Centers continue to amaze!

The power of prayer is humbling yet very welcome. All who have participated in my journey are recipients of God's grace and power.