It has been so long since I have blogged that I haven’t even used the new format yet. Yikes.
Pardon my lack of time and dedication. I have either been uninspired to write anything worthwhile or have been major busy (mainly the latter). My purpose in writing now is to update everyone on the status of my leukemia. I had an appointment at MD Anderson about a month ago. I have been going to MD Anderson since November, but because of all of my insurance issues, I had to start my therapy all over again in April. This visit was considered a 3 month follow up. In other words, I have taken Sprycel, without interruption, for three months. At 3 months, the goal is to see data that my medicine is working.
A FISH (Florescence In Situ Hybridization) test was performed, which provides a snapshot into the percentage of cells that are Ph+ (possess the Philadelphia chromosome – which, in essence, is my leukemia). My test results showed that 84% of my cells are Ph+ and 16% are Ph-. Needless to say, my initial reaction was one of disappointment. My heart sank and I sat there for a second as my chest tightened. I was hoping for a better result at the 3 month mark. I emailed my doctor to ask what the target range is for a patient who has been on Sprycel for 3 months and he said that he is just looking for anything less than 100% Ph+ cells. He said that I have made a little progress, “not much, but some”. He said that by my next visit, at 6 months, he’d like to see less than 35% Ph+ cells. “That would be ideal.”
Now, I wait.
I try not to think about it too much. All I see is 16% Ph- when I do. I suppose that’s a start, but 65% Ph- at 6 months seems so far away. It’s like seeing that you’ve only lost 25 lbs in 3 months when your goal is 100 lbs in 6, except it’s having way more to lose than another day of discomfort. There are days when you feel more mortal than others. Monday (the day I saw the results) was one of those days for me. However, I won’t be deterred. I have too much going for me right now. I’ve built up way too much momentum to worry about things I cannot control. I’m resuming life. I’m going back to school.
It has been my lifelong dream to get a college degree. When I had to drop out of school in 2006, the same semester I was diagnosed with CML, I never thought it would take me 5 years to get back in. Five years later, I’m in a great industry (energy), working for a great company (Oncor), and have decided to pursue Public Affairs. The best thing about it is that Oncor has agreed to reimburse me for my tuition (even graduate school) in exchange for a 2 year commitment after I graduate. I’m so happy about that. Finally, I’m resuming life. I’m picking up the pieces of my often immature, unstructured past and moving forward. I have approximately 2.5 years left after my credits transferred over. I’m hoping for a smooth ride. And by smooth I mean, not having to constantly arm wrestle the dragon of adversity. Staring at 16%Ph- reminded me of the burden I’ve carried with me. I just want it to go away. I have an aversion to dead ends.