Friday, August 10, 2007
Round Six...or seven...I've lost track
I got my biopsy results on Wednesday but waited until my appointment today to update, since I had no clue what the plan would be. The biopsy showed a return of the leukemia with 65% blasts in the marrow. Our prayer going in to today was that somehow God would "turn the heart of the king" and allow my doctor to be open to second transplant, since that is the only possible "cure" for me. He told me last week he would also contact MD Anderson in Houston to see if they had any clinical trials open to me. He presented that as an option today, but I really don't want to leave home and phase one trials are beyond a long shot, so we turned to the only other option, which is to do another round of chemo (previously mentioned clofarabine). I asked him if it would be possible to go in while I'm still hypocellular (i.e. white count and blasts down to zero) and do a transplant and he said yes. I was shocked, to be honest, and incredibly grateful that he is giving me a chance. At this point I'm pretty much labeled drug resistant, so there is no guarantee that blasts will be low enough at 14-day biopsy to qualify me for transplant, but it is a chance, and the last one I have, so we are taking it. I will be admitted on Tuesday at Barnes and begin clofarabine and high-dose Ara-C. It's a rough drug, and I still have pneumonia, so I am honestly scared going in. I don't know how many times I can survive treatment, and going into this sick and with the liver risks again is rough. I'm not entirely sure yet who my donor will be as we have an offer from Sloan-Kettering to do a higher level of matching with my siblings, but at this time it looks like my sister Lizzie will be my donor. She's 13, ready and willing, and I can't express how thankful I am for another chance at this.
I thought a lot today about each of my doctors and just felt so blessed to be surrounded by such a team. They have allowed me to fight this far, and aren't giving up on me. I don't know how to express my gratitude for their daily work. I think also every day of people like Dr. Thirman at U of Chicago who daily searches for a cure for my specific leukemia (MLL-ELL). I wonder each day if today is the day he'll find the cure, and quietly thank God for the dedication of people like him who are searching to beat this horrible disease.
I'll update again once I'm in the hospital. Thank you as always for your prayers.