Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Merry Xmas Indeed!

We visited Stanford on December 16th for my 6 week checkup with Dr. Coutre. The cancer center was the busiest I've ever seen it. We waited for almost 2 hours past our appointment time before we could see the doctor.

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.

Santa Leu

Merry Christmas, Merry Xmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Holidays, Happy December!


Anonymous said...

The news blew us away. We couldn't be happier for You and Wendy: Your family OXoxxoXOcrinche

Phil said...

Wow Matt! Totally fantastic news! Congratulations!!

Kelly said...

Amazing! Congratulations to you both. Here's to a fabulous 2009!

hockeychic said...

WONDERFUL NEWS! What an amazing Christmas present!

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful news! Congratulations and I am so happy you got the news in time for Christmas! :)

C-the D.C. area

Annie - Steven's mom said...

This is what I mean by a "wonder filled" Christmas!
Absolutely awesome news - and it made for a really big smile.
Great news to end the year with...and to start a new year too :)
Love and light

MrsMattman said...

Awesome news!!!! This is fantastic!! And I learned from reading your post that I have achieved a major cytogenic response (recent FISH 22%) - so Thank You as well!!!

MrsMattman said...

PS Love the outfit on your puppy dog lol!

Anonymous said...

Wow Matt! Awesome News and Congratulations!

Meeting and chatting with you was an incredible experience and really helped ground me in my own journey!

I hope you and Wendy have a wonderful New Year's!