Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bone Marrow test results.

This week I had a bone marrow aspiration done to see how effective the new chemo from two weeks ago was. The result showed a slight increase in % of cancer ( from 0.1% to 0.4%). The doctor said that although this is a bit higher, he considers it unchanged (from a clinical standpoint). The goal still is to get the cancer to zero before transplant and the doctor concluded that the last chemo was not effective enough. So, he is starting me on Monday with a 5-day hospital stay to received stronger chemo. I'll be at the UW Hospital this time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chemo, Transplant, Donor update.

Last week I recovered well from the previous weeks' Chemo. I had minimal side effects. Mainly just very tired.

Here is a summary of my current situation:

The first 6 months of chemo got the cancer in my blood and bone marrow down from 82% to 0.1% (6 rounds). The goal was to get it to zero after 4 of scheduled 8 rounds, then keep it at zero 'til 8 rounds were finished. However, since I still have 0.1% after 6 rounds, the doctors concluded to stop the final 2 rounds, start me on another Chemo, and prepare for bone marrow transplant. It is tough dealing with the fact that we were so close to getting this cured without the transplant. However, the chance of relapse is considerably less after a transplant. Also, a transplant requires less than 5% (preferably 0%) cancer before proceeding - so those first 6 months were necessary and not a waste of time.

Bone Marrow transplant:
The first step is to find the donor. Testing concluded last week showed my brother as partial match. Next, they look for a perfect match (this would be preferred over my brother) at the Unrelated Donor Pool. This is an international registry of over 12 million donors. Testing revealed that I have a rather common type of genetics that fortunately resulted in about 400 potential perfect matches from the initial search. This week, they will start more tests for a more detailed search that should filter that 400 down quite a bit. It is a very specialized, scientific process that is quite involved. SCCA (Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) is one the best places in the world for this. They do about 500 transplants per year.
After the donor is found, I will undergo many tests to determine if I am healthy enough to handle the transplant. When the transplant starts, they give me several days of very strong Radiation and Chemo to wipe out my current bone marrow. Then the donated bone marrow (or stem cells) are transfused into my veins (just like a blood transfusion). From this point, it will take 2-4 weeks for the new cells to start producing white blood cells and basically "replacing" my old bone marrow. They say about 90 days after the transplant is when I start to get back to "normal".


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Started Chemo Yesterday.

I started Chemo yesterday, again. I will get 2 hour infusions Mon-Wed-Fri of this week. This is my first treatment at SCCA. It has been going smooth there. I have not experienced any side effect except feeling very tired today. Most side effects would be more apparent next week. My parents are staying with us on and off to help as my caregivers and get familiar with SCCA before my anticipated bone marrow transplant. This is a huge help to us. Toshiko has her hands full with Tyler (he will be 3 in Sept).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Family picture from today.

Enjoying the nice weather before Chemo on Monday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chemo delayed a few days.

My white count was a bit low today so they are giving me shots for 3 days to boost it and will then start Chemo on Monday. The other blood counts looked fine. This was my first official day at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance so I met with a Doctor, several nurses, and coordinators. I left there feeling quite impressed and secure with their establishment. I am starting to understand why they are one of the best cancer centers in the world. I just want you all to know that I am going to beat this and be out doing things I love again - like skiing. Yea, this picture is of me - back when I was racing in the Air Force. I'll be doing this again next winter.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Starting Chemo again tomorrow.

I am still scheduled to start Chemo again tomorrow. 3 days of 2-hrs per day infusions (every other day). They will do a blood test first though - if my counts are still too low they may delay the treatment. Will know more tomorrow. This picture of Toshiko and Tyler was taken just down the trail from our house. This is where I have been walking every day for rehabilitation.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just a picture today...

... of my beautiful and loving wife and son.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Holiday break.

Last Wednesday I received a 6 hour blood transfusion that left me feeling great and energetic. So, Toshiko and I hosted BBQ at our community beach front area for the 4th. Thanks so much to all of you that came. It was such a fun and joyful time. I am truly blessed to have such a very wonderful family and so many great friends.

This Thursday I will be starting Chemo again. I will be transferring to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). I'll have 3 days of outpatient treatment. It's a very strong Chemo that will wipe out my blood counts again. The plan is that I will get 1 or 2 rounds of this Chemo while we prepare and test for the bone marrow transplant which is estimated to be about 6 - 8 weeks away.