Good and bad news

Eric's Journal
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Well, I’ll start with the good news. Today I was supposed to get back my biopsy results from yesterday. Dr. George came in to tell me that the leukemia cells were at 0%. The results are from what they call a “fish” test. They test my cells for the genetic abnormality which causes my leukemia. I have what is called an MLL 9/11 trans location. It is basically what causes my body to produce leukemic cells. Well out of all of the cells that they extracted from my bone marrow, none of them showed any evidence of the trans location. When I was first admitted to the hospital, 94% of my cells showed evidence of that and a week ago when they did a biopsy the results came back at about 2%. Well the doctor was right when he guessed that the last few cells were still dying off. They could have started me on another chemo regimen after they saw the 2% but one of the doctor’s insisted that it was unnecessary and that they were still dying. The results today proved that.


Now they still found some blasts in my bone marrow but it was still inconclusive whether or not those blasts were indeed leukemic. Anytime your body is trying to reproduce neutrophils, blasts will be present. Whether or not those blasts are leukemic is unknown at this point. But given the fact that my “fish” results were at 0% would lead them to believe that they are not leukemic and that I am in a complete remission. They will do another bone marrow biopsy in a week or so to be sure.


Now for the bad news…very shortly after Dr. George left the room with the news about my bone marrow, a woman from the hospital called. She is the one in the BMT program that is responsible for typing donors the see if they are good matches for the patients. She called my mom and informed her that my younger brother, Steve, was not a valid match. However, all is not lost yet. We are still waiting to hear the results from my younger sister, Lindsey, to see if she is a match. If she matches, then I believe they will continue my treatment and begin the steps necessary to transplant my sister’s bone marrow into me. If she is not a match, then they will either look to the national registry to see if there is a donor somewhere out there who is a viable match OR they may go back to my older brother Mike and retransplant me with his bone marrow. After all, Mike’s bone marrow kept me alive for another 4+ years. Usually when bone marrow transplant patients relapse, it is within a year. Given the fact that it took a full four years to relapse means that Mike’s immune system must have worked pretty well. The doctors told me that at 4 years remission, I had something like a 2% chance of my cancer coming back…I WAS SO CLOSE!!! ugh….so if I do not have a donor out there then Mike may be my next best option. Without a transplant, I have a 95+ percent chance of relapsing.


So now I am just waiting around, watching my white blood cell counts. Once those go up and my neutrophils are at a decent level, and I am able to sustain a normal temperature (no infections/fevers) on my own without anti biotics…then I will go home to regain some of my sanity until the doctors figure out what the next steps of my treatment are going to be.


I’m already feeling pretty tired so I think I am going to try to get some sleep rather early tonight. Being that they wake me up multiple times throughout the night, it’s hard for me to find a block of five hours of sleep.


Once again I’d just like to thank everyone for your support and wish you all the best!