Today marks 20 days since being diagnosed with Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia.
Gosh, a lot's happened since then.
I moved to a new city for treatment. I got 168 hours of chemotherapy. My lymph nodes shrunk from the size of apricots to the size of lymph nodes. Someone decided it was a good idea to jam a needle into my hip. Twice. I've had to change my sheets almost every night at least once since coming here due to night sweats. Gaddafi was killed. My hospital room somehow transformed into a dorm room (Thanks Kym!).
Oh and somewhere along the line they put me to sleep and installed a blood spigot into my chest. I now no longer look like a heroin addict (I swear officer, it's medicinal!).
I think it's about time for one of those meaty updates so ya'll know where I stand medically.
The first round of chemo, called "Induction", the 168 hours, is over. I should expect to start losing my hair soon. It was a little rough, as I didn't eat for about 4 days and had a top fever of 103.7. My white blood cell count plummeted during this time, and some of the chemicals in my blood went haywire.
Example: LDH is supposed to be 135-225. Mine got up to 12,600.
That's what happens when you commit genocide inside of the bone marrow.
Since the chemo ended, my white count has stayed low and everything else is returning to normal. Now I'm just waiting for the results of:
My bone marrow biopsy! Taken yesterday around 3:30pm, the doctors are hoping to find no trace of the cancer cells. If they find cancer, I get another 120 hours of chemo before they let my white count recover to normal. If they don't find cancer, then we're going to let my white count return to normal over the next 2 weeks or so. At that point, I get another biopsy, and if that one is also clean, I'm considered in "remission."
Remission = my white count is normal and they can't find the cancer.
Remission means I get to leave the hospital for a little while and live as an outpatient instead of an inpatient. I'll be able to fight infection just like everyone else, but I'll be in a holding pattern as we look for a bone marrow donor. Right now, we're still waiting on the results of my other two siblings, Fumos and Jackie, to see if they are a match. If they are, we're going to do the transplant ASAP, hopefully December. If they are not a match, we'll turn to the international registry. That will take a bit more time, so during that time I'll probably be in for another round or two of chemo to keep me in remission and ready for a transplant.
The transplant process will be interesting, but here are a few things just so everyone is clear:
They will not be taking the marrow out of the donor's bone and inserting into mine. The donor will essentially give blood for a few hours as they use a machine to take out the hematopoietic stem cells. Then I sit down and over 30 minutes to an hour those cells flow into me. The cells are trained to find and inhabit my osseous tissue cavities (spaces in bone where marrow lives). There, they will grow new marrow and my new immune system.
What happens to my old one? Well, we'll wipe it out pretty good with an intense round of chemo before the transplant. After the transplant, the new marrow will hunt down and destroy my old immune system.
They will betray and murder my old immune system. But they will save me.
This part still makes me a little sad. I can be very sentimental about things and I don't like change. The fact that my T cells and B cells and healthy macrophages and megakaryocytes and mast cells and basophils and eosinophils and erythrocytes and thrombocytes and neutrophils all need to die because some little dickhead monocyte decided to have a break in the 10/11 chromosome makes me quite angry.
Here's me giving a middle finger to that little fucker. It's your fault this is all happening. In fact. I hope that first one is still alive. I want it to watch as everything it's ever known is destoryed because of it. I want it to be like Saddam and Gaddafi, found in a hole after all is said and done. I want it to cry as my new marrow unceremoniously drags it through the streets by its ankel. Yeah, just one ankel. The other gets to just bounce along until it dislocates from the hip.
Eh, enough of me ranting. I think we can all agree we don't like cancer very much.
Anyway, I hope this gives everyone else a little better of an idea of what I'm looking at.
The good news is that I am responding well to everything, and my kidney function looks great!