B is the word.

By , on May 7, 2012

C Word


Many good things have happened since I last posted, and I will get those reports done one of these days real soon now. But I know my target demographic, and you people are all here for the medical drama. So here is some for you.

We went in to SCCA today expecting lots of news. The prime item of interest was the result of the HLA typing on my brother (using his saliva, not his blood; how this works I have no idea) to see if he can be a donor for my upcoming allogeneic stem cell transplant. They said the results weren’t back yet but they would call (words I have heard before).

Next in line was the result of my CT scan from last Thursday. And that was: no evidence of any progression of lymphadenopathy; i.e., no visible malignant growth of lymph nodes. So yay, at least I don’t have to worry about lymphoma for the moment.

Lastly were my usual blood numbers. I have been feeling pretty good the last several days, relatively speaking. I had a couple of intense days at a conference in Silicon Valley; I rode my bike a few miles for the first time in a long time (I did have to walk up the hill to get home); I baked, somehow, the best baguettes I have ever made. So I figured my hematocrit would be 30ish at least. But no, it was 26, so I’m scheduled for another couple of units tomorrow. I guess I’m getting used to being bloodless. My platelet count was 135, which is the highest it has been in a year at least. Neutrophils not great but I’m not neutropenic.

Back down I went to blood draw for the type-and-hold for tomorrow’s transfusion. While waiting there I got a call from Dr. Scott, and he said: “we have the HLA results and your brother is a complete match.” Hooray! This means we can proceed directly to transplant; no waiting for further chemo (though I did start my week o’ shots today). It also confirms that Mike really is my brother, which I had been wondering about. As the typing page says, there is a 1-in-4 chance of a match with a sibling, so for once we beat the odds. I won’t have to wait for possibly many months finding an unrelated donor, and I guess the likelihood of graft vs host disease (GVHD) is much less with a sibling donor. It’s hard to get really excited about plunging directly into an allogeneic transplant, but given the situation it’s very good news.

I will get a call from the transplant office in a couple of days, and will know more then about schedule. I have heard that there are a number of options for prep for the transplant, so I suppose we will have to talk those over. But in any case I am now at the top of the ski jump, just about to tip over the edge and head down. Another wild ride ahead.



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