Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Changing Horses and a Good Score

We went to Stanford this morning for my first blood test after resuming the Gleevec 2 weeks ago. I am happy to report that it was my first "normal" blood count since this whole pile of shenanigans began. My white cell count is now 4,400, my hemoglobin is 14.5 and my neutrophils are at 63.7% This is excellent news. It means that my response to treatment is headed in the right direction.

My next checkup is in 6 weeks when they'll do a standard CBC blood test just to make sure things are still on track. After that, they'll do a more in depth test in December to determine whether I've achieved a cytogenetic response (no leukemic cells in the blood). If I understand correctly, this will be a FISH test, hopefully without another bone marrow biopsy. From everything I've read, the average length of time to achieve a cytogentic response is 12-18 months. December will only be 6 months from diagnosis, but we're still hopeful.

We've also decided to stick with Stanford as my primary oncology care provider. Dr. Coutre appears to be a specialist in CML and Gleevec and we kept getting bounced back to him anyway with questions that my original oncologist couldn't answer. The minor downside is the size of the Stanford clinic compared to Dr. Cohen's private practice. It was nice to be on a first name basis with the office personal and have blood test results in 10 minutes. At Stanford the blood results usually take about an hour to come back and you see a different hematology fellow each time you're in the clinic. In all, I think it's a good trade, at least until things stabilize and my treatment goes into "maintanence mode".

In miscellaneous news I got a prescription for Compazine today for the nausea I'm experiencing as a side effect of Gleevec. Ativan didn't work, Dramamine put me to sleep and Jolly Ranchers only get you so far. Wendy and I joked today that most of the medication I'm currently taking is to counteract the side effects of other medication. I take Gleevec which makes me nauseous and gives me bone pain. So I take Advil to help the bone pain but that makes the nausea worse. Than I need to take an antiemetic to help with the nausea. Who knows, maybe I'll get another prescription for some side effect of the Compazine (assuming it works). I read that it can cause seizures, maybe I'll get an anticonvulsant for that....

2 comments:

kelly said...

That's great news Matt! Glad to hear it!

Phil said...

Glad things are going in the right direction...