Wednesday, May 30, 2012

With partner Dave Murray, victorious at my club's Member-Member tournament a couple of weeks ago.
Hello all - quick update today on my visit with Dr. Kritz yesterday.  My platelets were up again, this time to 77,000 (from 54,000).  So, very good news there - also my neutrophils were WAY UP, to levels heretofore unknown, i.e., 14,000.....where 'normal' is between 2,000 and 3,000.  We continue to believe that my marrow is cranking out these elements as it should be, though the neutrophils are inflated by neupogen shots, and should moderate as we back off that drug therapy.  So, things continue to look positive.  I will have another blood test next tuesday and will update you again then.  As always, thanks for your prayers and encouragement.  Thanks be to God for all our blessings.  Dan

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bone Marrow Awakening!

The young woman Rachel Rooker on her first day of work
(those are stockings, not tattoos!!  Gotcha!!)

Lieber Freundin, we have good news today.  First, my daughter Rachel, our oldest at age 22, received an offer of employment from Lane Bryant clothing stores on Friday!  She eagerly accepted and started work yesterday - her first day on her first job!!  Rachel has always kept busy writing and making jewelry, but has not scored a job until this week.  She is home for the summer and has one more semester at UNC-Asheville to get her degree in creative writing.  Renee had been praying with particular fervor and constancy about this because it was becoming a real burden for Rachel to be among the 'jobless'.  So, once again we are praising the Lord for answers to prayers.

Speaking of which, yesterday Renee and I were in the clinic, waiting for that big needle to be punched through my hip bone, and the PA, Jessica, was with us looking at my lab results and said, "I don't think you are going to be having a bone marrow biopsy today.....what have you been eating?"  The quip about what I had been eating was prompted by my platelets having jumped from 21,000 to 53,000 in 7 days.  Additionally, my neutrophils had gone through the roof, up from 400 to over 7,000!!!  (Which is way above normal).  So, the doctoral view is that for unknown reasons, my bone marrow is beginning to crank out platelets and neutrophils and the problem that caused the suppression is resolved or resolving.  The behavior argues for the virus theory, but we still don't know for sure, nor what virus might be the culprit.  And, we may never know - but guess what?  The Lord knows, and he has full control over all this stuff;  that's very comforting.

My next clinic visit for labs is next Tuesday, so we'll see then if this very positive trend continues.  Until then, thanks for your continuing support.  I will post next Tuesday or Wednesday latest.  God's best to you from us......Dan and Fam

Monday, May 14, 2012

Counts Update

Early morning on the practice range
Hello friends -  after that euphoric post on May 2, I regret to give a negative update, but I guess such is the nature of leukemia and stem cell transplants.  The gist is that my neutrophils and my platelets have not recovered - I am taking daily neupogen shots at home (to stimulate neutrophil production), but today at the doc my ANC was just 400, and  1000 is the minimum healthy level.  My platelets are down to 21,000, from a high of 143,000 which was early April.  Dr. Kritz, who is always very direct, said he could think of 4 possible causes - a viral infection (I have some minor symptoms, but nothing jumps out at us), chronic GVHD (again, no telltale symptoms, but it's a possibility), a second-stage graft failure, or possible return of leukemia (I can't see how this one could be right, given the very recent tests in Houston).  So, more neupogen shots to support my ANC, while Dr. Kritz consults with Dr. Hosing.  This is, to say the least, unwelcome news and a real downer on our good news which was less than two weeks ago.  We're on our knees, please join us if you can.  I see Dr. Kritz again in a week.  All for now,

Dan and Renee

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hello - short post today to confirm that the flow cytometry test also came back negative, so it's official - COMPLETE REMISSION.  CANCER FREE.  Sweet words!!  I spoke to Dr. Hosing and I choked on the words of thanks, I was so overcome with emotion.  Richter's transformation is nasty business - looking back on it, I feel that I have been delivered from the lions' den, or from the fiery furnace.  Praise God for all He has done, including equip and enable GREAT doctors!  And as always, thanks to all of you who have followed me on this journey and prayed for me, sent your encouragement - it helped bear me through.

God's best to you.


PS I am still battling extremely low neutrophils and falling platelet counts.  Appreciate your prayers in this regard.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Renee with the Hero of the Hour, Giant of Medicine, Dr. Michael Keating 
        Hello again, I promised to update you when I received additional test results, specifically on my CLL.  The bone marrow biopsy has several components;  the first one to come back is the pathologist's report -  he or she looks at the blood in the marrow under a microscope.  That report, we learned yesterday, was negative - i.e. he/she saw no evidence of CLL.  That is just stunning, amazing, phenomenal!!  There is another test that also looks for CLL called flow cytometry, and we don't have that back yet - but we tend to think that, if the pathologist did not see any CLL, that this other test will not find  much, if any, CLL.
         What can one say?  I am just grateful to Dr. Keating, Dr. Hosing, and the great physician, the Lord Jesus, for giving me a new lease on life, for however long He ordains.  And today my wife, Renee, is on my heart - I just want to say that she has been a wonderful, heaven-sent companion and, on may days,  nurse for me - she still loads my 3 pill boxes every week, identifies what prescriptions need to be refilled, encourages me, and fights for me as a prayer warrior.  She is perfect for me, and she has been perfect through this.
        Under 'it's always something', today we have the fact that my neutrophils and platelets have crashed, and we don't know the reason.  I am trying not to worry about it and trusting completely in the Lord - the same Lord who blessed us with the test results discussed above and in my previous post.  But, something for us to continue praying about.  Blessings to you.  Dan and Renee