Saturday, February 02, 2008

Health Update

I have continued to get the IVIg infusions and they really have worked as I still have not had any new infections. I still struggle with headaches for a couple of weeks after, but I don't think it was as bad this time. The main thing I don't like is that it takes all day.

The great news is that my IgG levels have really climbed. In fact, I may not need this next treatment and we made the appointment for six weeks out instead of four. The last blood test showed the levels all the way into the normal range (more than double what the level had been). I really thought we would skip this last round. However, my doctor thought the test was done too close to my last infusion and that it was just a spike and not an accurate reading. This time I will have the test two days before the scheduled infusion and then the results will be back by the morning of my scheduled infusion. If the level is still up, we will skip it and just monitor my levels. My doctor at MD Anderson said once they reached 700 to spread the infusions out to just be able to maintain that level. My other blood tests looked pretty darn good. My platelets have stayed above 100 for two months now. I did read somewhere that IVIg can also raise platelet levels. However, most of my tumor load is not in the blood, but in my lymph system and bone marrow. My nodes are continuing to grow and he ordered a CT scan to check on them. I have such mixed feelings over getting this test because of the radiation and there is a lot of controversy, even among doctors, over the advisability of getting them for this disease. I will get the results at my monthly appointment on Monday. I would guess that either he or my doctor at MD Anderson may want another bone marrow biopsy soon. Almost a year and a half ago my marrow was 50% infiltrated with the cancer cells (not sure I stated that properly).

My MD Anderson follow-up appointment was changed to the end of this month. Dr. Weirda will be out of town the day it was scheduled, so they had to reschedule. That's OK.

I seem to be pretty much holding my own. The only real difference I notice is the increase in my lymph nodes and I am MUCH more stiff and sore in my joints but I don't think that is related to the leukemia/lymphoma. Hard to say for sure. When I get up out of my chair, it is a struggle and I can barely move until after I have taken 10 or 15 steps. I know sometimes when I have gone shopping, I feel like I can barely make it around the store. Oh well, at least I can go to the store.

Recently we lost several members of our on-line support groups to this stinking disease. One of those was a young mother of a toddler; another was a father of a nine year old boy. Several others who's death was no less tragic and too soon. Also, the gentleman that was a former member of my church and with whom Cheryl and I visited at MD Anderson in November died. He never recovered from his transplant he had last May. He never did get home. One of the founders of the CLL Christian Friends web site was just diagnosed with lung cancer in addition to his relapsed CLL. His wife also has a different cancer that has come back. Another member about to have a stem cell transplant is putting that on hold because tumors from another type of cancer were discovered and they have to deal with that first. A wonderful lady who is a member of my Sunday School class had a mastectomy and is now undergoing chemotherapy. (She is handling it beautifully so far.)

Cancer SUCKS.

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