Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The last hurdle?


It's been something like three weeks since my last update, and as they say, no news is good news. For the most part, Nancy has been quietly working her way through the 100-day initial adaptation to her stem cell transplant. She's been working a bit on an architecture project (against doctor's advise), losing a little more weight (against doctor's advice), and we even went out for an evening of live music last weekend ( get my drift here).

That's my girl. Not to sound avuncular, but I'm happy she has been pushing herself a bit, except for the weight loss :-)

We did have some drama Sunday night, when she had a fruit/yogurt shake for dinner that was pretty acidic, and along with her evening dose of pills, upset her entire gastrointestinal tract. They measure pain on a scale of 1 to 10, and she hit 9 about 4am. I will leave the details of that night to your imagination, but by 8am we were at UCSF in the clinic. After I badgered the staff (I'll leave that to your imagination too, just think 'grizzly with cub in danger'), they gave her some decent IV pain medication. Ultrasound of her midsection showed no problems. So lesson learned, we need to be more careful about what she eats. We were both exhausted by the time I got her home mid-afternoon on Monday. But she's pretty much back to normal.

You may remember that I spoke of four hurdles in a prior update. We are now coming up to the last hurdle, we hope. On Friday, she will get her first bone marrow biopsy since the transplant, to check for remaining leukemia cells. I feel like a British soldier in the Ardennes Forest on the night of November 10, 1918. Will there be an armistice tomorrow, or will the artillery shells continue to fall in the morning? So far, indications are good -- the weekly blood samples show no sign of immature cells or lymphoblasts. But the biopsy is the Big Tell. If she is clear of leukemia signs, we can continue the 100 day treatment, giving her new immune system the best chance of making a happy home in her. If not, then the doctors will need to taper off the anti-rejection drugs so her immune system can (hopefully) deal with the leukemia cells. This increases all kinds of risks.

So please, it's time to dust your altar, open your heart, help us hold an intention. No More Leukemia. Happy Immune System. The coming week is important, and I will let you all know as soon as we find out early next week.