It has been nine months since I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and seven months since I received a stem cell transplant. Yesterday brought great news. The results of my latest bone marrow biopsy and aspiration show the following:
Molecular Diagnostics — No FLT3 Mutation Detected; No DNMT3A Mutation Detected.
Pathology Report — Blasts 2% (normal range).
Cytogenetics Report — Chromosome Analysis shows normal male karyotype.
Flow Cytometry — No minimal residual acute myeloid leukemia identified.
It appears that the transplantation of my brother’s stem cells and the post-transplant Azacitidine chemotherapy have kept my leukemia from relapsing. Relapse is a very common event for the type of leukemia I have. Patients who suffer a relapse usually die very quickly unless they receive a second stem cell transplant.
The other good news is that the GvHD that flared up in the past month is subsiding thanks to the re-introduction of the anti-rejection drug Tacrolimus. My liver enzymes are heading back to the normal range, my itchy rashes have nearly disappeared , and my fingernails seem to be less brittle and are not splitting as often. I continue to have a severe cough likely caused by the stem cells attacking my lungs. I also still have dry eyes , blurry vision, short-term memory problems, and severe dry mouth. All of these symptoms may be from the GvHD or they may be caused by the medications. Only time will tell.
I am in my nadir from the latest round of chemotherapy so I have to avoid being in crowded places. That means I will not be able to attend the Christmas/Holiday parties a number of my friends in the legal community throw every year. In the meantime, I am doing my best to eat healthy meals and to walk three to four miles per day to keep up my strength. I am also working at regaining some of the thirty-two pounds I lost in the past 9 months. Mary Pat is back to painting which has been one of my goals for some time. Everything is looking uncharacteristically rosy for the close of 2016 which will go down in our household as the worst year ever!