Friday, September 08, 2006
A quick search on Google yielded the following medical definition:
Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a patient has enjoyed a remission.
I'm not entirely sure how much I've been able to enjoy this brief remission, but just being home has been a huge blessing. Every minute with my baby becomes more valuable in my sight with every passing day.
Preliminary results from yesterday's oh-so-painful biopsy resulted in a phone call from my doctor today, telling me that I have relapsed. What a way to ruin a perfectly good Friday. The leukemic blasts are back at about 20%. I knew, I wondered if I was sick again before Tuesday's appointment but when I saw my blood work I knew. Yet still...hearing it on the phone...there just aren't words. A relapse this quickly? "Not good" is an understatement.
I'll be going back into the University Hospital on Tuesday to begin reinduction therapy. They will be using different chemo drugs this time but the side effects will be similar to the original induction. The doctor said to expect to be there for "a while." In the meantime, my siblings will be typed for a bone marrow donor match. As I've said before, each one has a 1 in 4 chance of being a match, and I have eight siblings, so statistically the chances are good. Our prayer is for a sibling match because that lowers the risk of graft versus host disease. GVHD can be really horrible to the point of fatal. Bone marrow transplants are not the "fix all" we tend to think they are -- this is honestly a last resort -- I have a transplant or I die, no options. The results may be wonderful, but it is also a very real fact that a lot of people don't survive, and a lot who do have a very poor quality of life due to GVHD, radiation, etc.
Once I am in second remission, I will be going to Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital in St. Louis for the allogenic bone marrow transplant. I don't know how all of that will play out yet, so I won't waste time and words speculating.
1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.
6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
17 I WILL NOT DIE, BUT LIVE,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
(Thanks to Emily B. for sending this to me yesterday.)