This turned out to be serendipitous when a lady named Beth came over and introduced herself. She recognized my face from pictures I've posted here. She follows this blog and we've commented back and forth a couple of times on the LLS forums. It was a genuine pleasure meeting her. We talked for around 45 minutes about treatment, CML, dealing with day to day life and Dr. Coutre. Beth was diagnosed the same week I was and so far is doing very well on Gleevec. I wish her good news when her test results come back from this visit.
The visit itself was very brief. We talked about what tests were being run (CBC, FISH, metabolic panel and electrolyte panel this time) and why. The metabolic panel shows whether my liver and kidneys are working correctly, the electrolyte panel shows the electrolyte contents and CO2 levels in my blood, and the FISH test shows how many cells are leukemic. If the FISH test shows less than 35% leukemic cells, it's called a Major Cytogenetic Response. If it shows 0% leukemic cells, it's called a Complete Cytogenetic Response, i.e. remission.
The CBC and panel results are always ready in time for your visit with the doctor. Things look good in general (the charts have been updated). My RBC is ever so slightly low, and CO2 was slightly elevated. It's nothing to worry about according to the doctors though.
The FISH test takes a little longer to process so we had to wait until Friday for a call from Coutre's nurse. The news was good:
I've achieved a Complete Cytogenetic Response!
That's right kiddies, my Xmas present this year is remission! No detectable leukemic cells from the FISH test. We're very excited and very relieved at the news. We weren't expecting this until mid-2009 according to the average time lines for Gleevec response.
This post is late because I wanted to surprise my family with the news Christmas morning.
I'll be back at Stanford in March, 2009 for my next checkup. In addition, I'm planning on returning to work in mid-January. It'll be nice to start a normal routine again.
In other news, I'm not a fan of putting clothes on dogs, so my mother-in-law (tongue firmly in cheek) keeps sending us outfits for Leu. I broke down and took some pictures in the Santa costume.
Merry Christmas, Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Holidays, Happy December!