Wanted to share some great news that we were given today as we met with my Oncologist to go over the bone marrow biopsy results from discharge last Friday. After careful examination, the doctors were able to explain the rounds of testing that my bone marrow underwent. To the best of my understanding (business/math brain trying to understand science), each test digs deeper and deeper, more specifically examining the bone marrow. I have actually had a lot of fun researching and learning more about the science behind the diagnosis, treatment, tests, etc.
1st Test: Morphology - Examines blood smears to identify immature cells (blasts) in the sample and is of key importance in diagnosis of leukemia. This test came up negative (0% Leukemic).
2nd Test: Flow Cytometry – Detects residuals of (most) AML cells. This test came up negative as well!
3rd Test: Immunohistochemistry (IHC) – Checks to see if antibodies used to treat cells are stuck/ attached to cells. Don’t really understand this one… but we’ll trust the smart doctors and celebrate the negative results!
4th Test: FISH Study – looks more closely at cell DNA to find chromosome changes, specifically translocations that are involved in blood cancer. At the time of induction, I was 92% Positive within this test... Today, that percentage dropped to 2%!!! Praise God!
I will undergo another bone marrow biopsy in 1-2 months, at which point the expectation is for the FISH test to come back at 0% and for the last test, PCR/MRD which will measure the minimal molecular residual disease (ultimately showing complete signs of remission) to come up at 0% as well.
In addition to their finding in the bone marrow, we were able to see blood count numbers that we had been monitoring in the hospital so closely every morning.
Platelets have risen to 386, within the normal range of 130-400. This is up from 91 at time of discharge, and even more amazingly, 14 at the time of induction… what a long way we have come!
Hemoglobin has risen, still below normal range, but trending upward slowly.
WBC (White Blood Counts) are very low, 1.3 as compared to a normal range of 4.8-10.8. Anything below 2.0 puts me into a neutropenic stage where I am at high risk of infection and sickness from the smallest amount of germs.
As you can see, the battle isn’t over by any means, but I am so thankful for the prayer support that has been backing me up. So many prayers have been answered in so many ways. God is so good!
The next phase of this process involves a Port placement Monday morning which will allow me to safely and easily receive Chemo treatment over the course of the next 6-8 months. We will be commuting to the hospital Monday through Friday for Arsenic treatment for a span of 4 weeks “on”, followed by 4 weeks “off”, for 4 total cycles. I will also be taking the ATRA pill form of chemo 7 days a week, 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off, for 7 total cycles.
Current prayer requests include:
- Increase in WBC’s into the normal range and for the chemo medicine to not cause these counts to bottom out during treatment, as well as protection from germs and sickness around me.
- Prayers for the Port placement procedure to go smoothly
- For no side effects from either form of Chemo treatment, which will hopefully allow me to return to work and a somewhat normal lifestyle, hopefully in the coming weeks.
- Treatment to fully attack any residual cells and that by the time the next bone marrow biopsy is taken in 1-2 months, all tests show up negative.
- Continued healing for everyone on Floor 7M, that they may find complete healing and comfort.
As always please let us know your prayer requests too. We have seen the power of prayer at work, and would love to offer up intentions for all of you that have been so supportive of me and my family. I am feeling stronger, getting healthier, and am ready to attack this next phase of the fight.