For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I haven't posted lately, because there's not much to report.  At my oncologist appointment today, my white blood cells (that's wbc if you read my previous post :-) were up to 3.8 from 2.8 three weeks ago. Normal is 5-10, but for cancer patients, they broaden the normal range to 3.5-10.5.  My hemoglobin (hgb) was up from 10.8 to 11. Normal is 12-15.   Unfortunately, my weight is creeping up, too; it didn't get the memo that I'd prefer it go in the opposite direction. I've been drinking soda and juice the past few days, so it's back to water for me, and I will also get back in the habit of having salad for a couple of meals each week. :-)

I got used to having good days and bad days, but I have been extremely tired for the past two weeks. September 12 was a great day in which I felt clear-headed, productive, and efficient. September 13 was just the opposite; I was tired, cranky, and everything I did seemed ten times harder than it should be. I've gradually gotten better since then, but I still am worn out by the middle of the afternoon every day. After having such a good day and hoping this might become the "new normal," it hit me hard to crash so badly and for so long. My oncologist suggested that the fatigue is a side effect of the medicine I'm on. We could switch the medicine, but all TKI's have side effects, and I don't want to switch from one that's working to one that may not work as well or may have worse side effects. So we're not going to consider changing meds unless my first pcr result is less than the 3-month target.  I'll have that test done at my next appointment in a month.

In non-cancer news, Katie danced in her first feis (Irish dancing competition) on September 24 and she took 3rd place for her reel. Rachel applied to UNCG and is waiting to hear back from them. She also got her drivers license last week. Rebekah took drivers ed last week, and will be driving Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. So watch out if you see a "student driver" car in the Wake Forest/Youngsville/North Raleigh area. All of us went to Myrtle Beach for some "beach therapy" from Sunday until today. I will miss the sound of the ocean when I go to bed tonight!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Short Lesson in Leukemia Vocabulary

After two months of having leukemia, I'm starting to learn the lingo.  For your fun and edification, here is a list of leukemia acronyms. 

ALL - acute lymphocytic leukemia
AML - acute myelogenous leukemia
BCR-ABL -  breakpoint cluster region - Abelson (used together, BCR-ABL refers to the fusion protein that is produced by the translocated genes 9 and 22, present in CML, ALL, and sometimes AML)
BMA - bone marrow aspiration
BMB - bone marrow biopsy
BMT - bone marrow transplant
CCyR - complete cytogenic response
CLL - chronic lymphocytic leukemia
CML - chronic myelogenous leukemia
CMR - complete molecular response
G - gleevec
Hem/Onc - a doctor who is both a hemotologist and oncologist
HGB - hemoglobin
MCR - major cytogenetic response
MHR - major hemotologic  response
MMR - major molecular response
Onc - an oncologist
Ph+ CML - Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myelogenous leukemia
PCR - polymerase chain reaction
PCRU - pcr undetectable
RBC - red blood cells
SCT - stem cell transplant
TKI - tyrosine kinase inhibitor (the category of medications that is the front-line treatment for CML)
WBC - white blood cells