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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Relatively good news from my friend with leukemia

My bone marrow test came back and the sole defect located was in the long arm of chromosome 13 designated in the jargon as 13q.  This is the best of the five or six possibilities.  It means less aggressive cancer cells.  I
most likely got to where I am in a long glide over ten or more years and the measurements of disease progression should be declining slowly. The raw numbers have a lot of significance in and of themselves, but it is the rate
of change over time that tells the bigger story. The fact that I first presented as a Stage IV makes the timing for treatment a little complicated.

The usual behavior of my disease with the 13q indicator in theory gives me some time to consider a second opinion at one (or more if we are real gluttons for punishment) of the mega players in the cancer care business. I have contacted the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as a possible first step.

The proof of the pudding will come next Thursday after my scheduled blood work. If the numbers are stable, 13q is paying off for me and I can dither a bit. If the numbers are decreasing my time to prepare is gone. With 13q
and you guys on my side, I can not fail.

The very best thing about 13q is that it points to a good response rate to treatment. With rare exceptions, people with a 13q indicator get the best "bounce". (Bounce is the Oncologist's somewhat creepy word for what happens usually with cancer treatments. I try not to dwell on it.) I know a lot about why this might be this way but it is technical and boring. In a hunter's vernacular lets say the cancerous cells are easier to shoot, easier to kill, and slower to grow back. All good.

I hesitate to talk about prognosis. I now have some general ideas, but cancer reminds me of stud poker. Every card turned raises or lowers the odds of probable outcomes. If some of you are numbers people, contact me
directly and we can go there.

More next week. I should know more about disease trajectory and second opinion options then.

1 comment:

taco said...

Thank you for the update. When a friend gets sick, it really feels like a blow to the stomach. I know, of course, that my time is coming too. Your friend seems to respond to the situation by educating himself on the reality of the situation and by not grasping for hope that supernatrual force will intervene and cure him - I hope I'm the same way when I'm in similar shoes.