More bad news (Part 7)

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The chemotherapy seemed to be going well but then my doctors got a letter from the genetics laboratory.

Prior to treatment a sample of my bone marrow was taken from the back of my pelvis. If you lean forward and put your hands just above your waist, the slight bony lumps either side of the spine, is where they tend to take it from.

This is sent away for thorough genetic analysis. The bad news for me was the tests showed I had a second type of chronic leukaemia.

In an earlier blog I described that my diagnosis took quite some time. This was why. Under the microscope I had indications of both Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and a chronic type too. At the time, the conclusion was that a chronic leukaemia had evolved into an acute one.

These results showed both were working at the same time.

My consultant, who is a world expert, trawled through all the medical literature and could find no one with the condition. He later got in touch with his global counterparts and heard that there maybe five patients with a similar condition in Germany but that nothing had been reported officially.

As such, he said he could no longer offer me an accurate prognosis but was keen to push on with treatment. The concern now was whether the two types of leukaemia were interacting and if so how. The belief was they probably were and that the chronic form, which could have been grumbling on for years, finally triggered the acute outbreak.

The chronic problem, as illustrated below, is occurring further back in the marrow, around the level of one of the stem cells from which the other cells originate.

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Chemotherapy may or may not wipe out these earlier cells. Just how much of a problem they were remained to be seen. But the good news was that if the chronic cells were limited in their abnormality then they could be managed with a new drug called Glivec.

This drug has been hugely successful in treating Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML). It works by inhibiting the effects of the mutated cells and seems to be effective for many years.

The plan was to crack on with the chemotherapy, achieve remission and then monitor the chronic problem. If it became an issue then treat with Glivec.

Needless to say being diagnosed with two types of leukaemia was a bit of a blow yet bizarrely my ego was purring at potentially being a sort of 'world first'. If only it had been in something slightly less life threatening.

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6 Comments

Hi AD,

This is something of a shameless plug but since finding out that AD had Leukaemia at Christmas I wanted to do something that would raise money for people like AD. So on Sunday 22nd April I am running the London Marathon for the Anthony Nolan Trust which supports and manages bone marrow donars for transplants. This is a fantastic charity and is entirely dependent apon donatons. If you already know me and haven't has a chance to sponsor me or if you would just like to help a great charity then you can go to www.justgiving.com/phildriver. Thanks for your support.

AD, the blogs are fantastic, keep them coming.

Phil

Hey Ad,

Some peoples excuses for not coming to my wedding have been quite poor so far. For example "im on holiday", "its too far too come", "I have a dental appointment" etc.. Even Sally hasn't been able to come up with a good excuse yet, I think she is still working on it! But I think going to the extremes of writing this blog to prove the reasoning for your absence is excessive!

However Hannah and I will be thinking of you on the day, probably something along the lines of we wish adie was here so he could drag Poppy of the dance floor!!!!

All the best mate, and i'll make sure the photographer includes as many snaps of Poppy's dance floor antics as possible.

Neil

Hi Ad,

How are you? Toby told me about your blog.... really impressed, your an excellent writer - physiology comm skills obviously set you up ;-). I'm writing an essay about the treatment of AML at the moment....sounds like you know hell of a lot more than me (which is worrying!)and your a better writer- fancy taking the essay on for me?! Just kidding, really hope your doing ok. Si��n

Hi Adrian,

My partner who I previously left a comment on your blog about is on GLIVEC - apart from a few nasty side effects to start with it is now doing it's job! Thankfully there are signs of a remission taking place.

Jason x

hi Adrian
heard about your girl friend and i know no matter what anyone tells you or advice they give you it just doen't take the pain away
as you might guess i've been there myself but what will happen is as time goes by it makes you stronger
no you wont stop loving her that will always remain but the pain fades with time trust me it does
what you need to do right now is just try to think about getting better not just for your self but all those around you who love you from what your gandma has told me theres so many people who would be so lost with out you
so keep the fight up its to late to give up now as you have come so far.
all my best your grandma's window cleaner
simon

couldn't make it to your wedding neil because i was in texas ;)

mo

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Adrian Sudbury published on April 17, 2007 12:00 PM.

Treating leukaemia (Part 6) was the previous entry in this blog.

Christmas and getting ill (Part 8) is the next entry in this blog.

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