I have just found out that the chronic myeloid leukaemia could be back.
I couldn't believe it when my doctor revealed the results of my second bone marrow sample. I was just so confident it would still be a total remission.
However, I am not too worried about it.
As a journalist you are trained to put the most interesting facts at the top of the story. The purpose of this is to grab the reader's attention and make them want to read on.
I hope that's been achieved.
Now, before I explain why it's important not to be too concerned at this stage, please permit me a little bit of whinging.
The news from the hospital the other day was hugely disappointing. I came home without saying much and just cracked open a couple of beers.
Sometimes I'm not sure who to turn to. What should I say and how do I expect this person to reply? It's clearly not all going to be all right.
At the time I couldn't really explain how I was feeling but now after reflecting and putting together this entry I think I understand.
Strangely enough this blog is evolving into my own coping strategy - something I never intended it to be in the beginning.
My response to the news had been one of bitter acceptance but I was really apprehensive about telling my family. I am tired of upsetting people I love and it's quite draining going through the same complicated haematology several times over.
Also a dark cloud that for a time had seemed distant was once more in the foreground and looming ominously.
The crux of the matter is that, like Hitler in the latter stages of World War Two, I am just fighting on too many fronts;
•Chronic Graft versus Host Disease - which I know is going to flare up again. My hands and feet feel like they're burning some days and my skin is a little itchier. Steroids are down to 20mg a day.
• Constant infection risk.
• Because of the radiotherapy and the cGvHD my eyes are getting drier. I know they will probably require operating on to treat cataracts later this year.
• Coping with my big face and boggly eyes.
• Infertility and IVF.
• Thinking about the long-term future.
• Organising a wedding (which is quite fun actually).
• And now the prospect of leukaemia again.
It's like I'm walking through a minefield - which ever way I turn I encounter difficulties. I don't think I'm scared I just feel angry at this increasingly impossible situation I have ended up in.
Now for the good news.
My bone marrow is essentially very healthy. It's making all the cells it's supposed to and in all the correct numbers.
The other tests carried out on my bone marrow came back clear with the exception of one.
This molecular test is really sensitive and it only gives a yes or no answer. It showed that there is a protein present in my marrow associated with CML.
My consultant, who was really good and had obviously spent time making sure he gave me the facts without causing me to be too alarmed, explained that the results of this test are hard to interpret.
Firstly, it is really sensitive and the result could have come from background noise or interference.
Secondly, if the cancer is making a comeback my situation means I have a very good chance of fighting it off:
1. I have started taking the 'miracle drug' Glivec again. In recent years it has transformed the treatment of patients with CML. For many it represents a cure or at least holds the leukaemia at bay for many years.
2. As my cGvHD almost inevitably revs up again that will also play a role in attacking any cancerous cells. With a bit of luck my new immune system will recognise any cells associated with CML as being foreign, kill them, without bothering the rest of my body too much.
What reassured me most was when my consultant said that on an anxiety scale- with 0 being nothing to worry about and 10 being soil your pants- he rated this situation somewhere around 1.5.
If you get your head round the science I'm sure he's correct.
He also said because of the Glivec and cGvHD there is every chance the results could be all clear following my next bone marrow test in April.
I was a bit down after hearing the news but I'm OK again now. Nothing has changed plus I'm still alive and relatively well.
Apologies for such a downbeat entry because I had planned to do something much more entertaining.
I promise next week's will be more fun - although as this week shows you never know what's around the corner.