I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season with their family. We had a nice Christmas. The bone marrow biopsy went o.k. Not the best, not the worst. I have had a lot of lingering pain, which I am still dealing with, but overall I think this time was better than the last. I've been seeing a chiropractor and she's been able to fix the rib problem I had, eliminating yet another source of pain.
The medicine my doctor prescribed for the neuropathy caused severe swelling in my feet, ankles and calves, to the point that walking was excruciating. I quit taking it after two days. It seems to have, at least temporarily, helped with the neuropathy, for which I am thankful.
I find out the results of last week's bone marrow biopsy tomorrow at my weekly appointment. I'll let you know. This one doesn't tell us a whole lot, but it tells enough that I'm nervous about the results. Trying to learn not to be. I know it's a faith issue I need to deal with because this is how it's going to be the rest of my life, and I can't spend it on pins and needles waiting for the next test result. I received the following advice on a Christmas card from one of my doctors:
Life is good -- but regrets can drive you mad
Walk blindly into the light and reach out for His hand
Don't ask any questions and don't try to understand
Open up your mind and then open up your heart
Be happy and never hate
Don't waste time, there is something more that you've been handed
It was such a good reminder to me. Life IS a gift -- for all of us. Nobody knows their days. But for me? There is something more I've been handed. Thousands of people went before me and died going through clinical trials while they figured out what the best treatment options were, and thousands more are still dying in those same trials -- always and ever seeking a cure for this horrible disease. I go to the cancer hospital and see so many sick, depressed, horrible looking people that I didn't know really existed before I got sick. Were my eyes just blind to it? I don't know. Did I just look away like everyone else does when I'm out in public without a wig, wearing a surgical mask? I wish for just one day that all of those with cancer would just be brave and go out bald and make everyone aware of how HUGE of a disease this has become. I think you would all be shocked. Maybe then more children would grow up to be oncologists, maybe then more people would register to be stem cell/bone marrow donors. I don't know...in the meantime, I know I pray for a cure, for myself, and for all the others I have come to know who are suffering, some as young as 6 months.
As a side note, as it is nearing the end of the year, and some of you may be looking for a good charity for tax deduction purposes, consider the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia-lymphoma.org), or the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org). They both do a lot of good things for those of us who are ill.
Update: December 30th
I went to the doctor yesterday and got the results from my biopsy. They had warned me that at 30 days they wouldn't be able to tell much because most of the cells would still be immature (one of my doctors described it as a bunch of babies and you don't know if they're going to grow up to be juvenile delinquents (leukemic) or good cells. They had also warned me that it's not unusual at this point to see some leukemic cells. Well, I had 40% mature cells and in capitol letters on the report, "NO EVIDENCE OF ACUTE LEUKEMIA." This technically means I am finally in remission and I asked the nurse practitioner if this was good and I should be happy and she said yes, it's a wonderful report for 30 days. I'll have another biopsy at 100 days, so sometime in February, and we want that to be clean as well. Ultimately they want me to make it a year from transplant (11/13) without a relapse because that greatly lowers the overall risk of relapse. If I make it five years without a relapse, I'll be considered "cured."
I also found out that the extreme nausea and vomiting I struggled with last week is most likely a mild form of GVHD. They had warned me about Daniel's immune system attacking my gut, but placed more emphasis on things like diarrhea and didn't mention vomiting, so it didn't come to mind. I've been doing better the last few days and have a prescription written to take if it gets bad again. It's a steroid, so I would prefer to avoid it if possible. Mild GVHD is a good thing, so I'm not complaining too much. I'm so used to throwing up it doesn't really phase me anymore. It just bothers me because it interferes with weight gain. I was down a few pounds this week but I also lost all the swelling in my legs and feet, and I'm wondering if that had more to do with it than anything else. Otherwise my appetite is good, for which I am thankful.
I'll put an end to this lengthy post and bid you all a Happy New Year! I'm quite content to say goodbye to 2006 and pray for a better 2007.
Love you all,