I finally started my second round of chemo after much delay. I had a bone marrow tap last Thursday to see how much cancer (myeloblasts) was left in my bone marrow. Chemo was supposed to start the following day but the doctors delayed me for a couple of reasons until today. During the week off chemo my blood counts were expected to recover which they did not leaving me with no immune system (neutropenic). I have been receiving red blood cell, hemoglobin and platelet transfusions in place of what my body should have been creating. I also had an infection in my jaw resurface due to being neutropenic. They have had me on constant antibiotics for preventive measures and I had a reaction to one of them complicating matters further. So the doctors have been apprehensive about starting chemo with all of these issues due to the risk of treatment.
I have been pressuring the doctors all week to start treatment regardless of the issues because there is also risk in waiting to long. That risk is that the cancer that was killed could be growing back as they wait to attack it again. Like I said before, I came here to fight the cancer and win. I told the doctors that I am much stronger than the statistics that they base their decisions on and they need to give that serious consideration.
When they do a bone marrow tap they look at the myoblasts on a percentage basis. Myeloblasts, or “blasts” are immature cancerous white blood cells that never develop into mature healthy white blood cells. I can’t stress how lucky I was to get randomized and win the coin flip for the experimental drug. My blast rate before the first round of chemo was around 75%. To be honest, the doctors at that time felt that the standard treatment for AML in my case would be ineffective. Their prognosis was dismal at best but as I mentioned earlier, I am not the average statistic.
My bone marrow test results from Thursday came back showing a very encouraging response to the chemo as I expected. The blast rate went from 75% to just 5% which means it killed 93% of the cancerous cells. That is why I have been so adamant with the doctors about assuming the risk of treatment and going after the cancer while I “got em on the ropes”. So I started Round 2 last night and am confident that I will win by TKO in the second round.
Yesterday for the first time, my counts have turned around and are on the upswing. They identified the antibiotic that I had the reaction to and have it under control and the infection in my jaw is subsiding. Also, I am luckier than I have ever been in any casino because both my brother and sister came back as a match for stem cell transplant which is very rare.
Everyone has been asking me the from the start for statistics and numbers and I have been reluctant to give them. This is for good reason. I never wanted to discourage anyone and besides, it doesn’t matter where you start it is where you finish that matters. While the attitude that I carry with me in this fight is of paramount importance, so is the attitude and expectations of everyone who supports and thinks of me. Take notice, because your attitude does make a difference. An old friend recently sent me a quote which sums up exactly what I have always believed and am trying to convey.
“Each one of us is the creator of our own lives, and we cannot create in someone else’s life unless the other person is consciously asking for that same thing. For example, when someone wants to be well, then others around that person can use their powerful focus of pure wellness for them. The positive energy will be received by the person because they are asking for it themselves, and it will help them enormously.”
I couldn’t agree more and I thank you all for the good positive thoughts that you have been sending and your powerful focus. All I ask is that you keep sending that positive energy my way. It is the difference.
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