Thursday, July 29, 2010


Labs--mobile blogging from the UC Davis Cancer Center.

The wheels of modern American medicine are just beginning to turn for me, again. Tomorrow, Friday, I will get my final instructions on how my doctors will be proceeding with my treatment of CML, a clinical trial involving a drug called TASIGNA. I had a briefing today on what TASIGNA is but the exact plan is being formulated later today and in the morning, with adjustments based on today's lab results.

My labs from over a month ago showed my white blood count at 32,000--normal is 5-10k--and today my spleen showed the first signs of enlargement, which means my spleen is unable to filter out the onslaught of immature white blood cells. Since my spleen is enlarging, I expect a white count of over 40,000, possibly near 50k. Nothing alarming there since things don't get dicey until they reach the 100k level, but the disease is obviously back in force and with a number of other symptoms tagging along: dizzyness, joint stiffness, weight loss and extreme fatigue, to name a few.

Some preliminary plans were laid out today as well: pharmacy near my home for easy access to TASIGNA, and my doctor is moving my immediate care follow-ups in these early stages to my town--he has an office just down the street from me. How lucky was that? Very. However, if other treatment is called for, I will have to do that at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

As with Gleevec, TASIGNA has some cardiac considerations, and today's EKG showed I was ok in that department. (I would've had a pic of that but it wasn't pretty--the gown and all.) These new cancer drugs are amazingly effective but come with a thousand possible side effects. However, I had very few with the Gleevec, and those were minor. I expect the same with TASIGNA. I'd tell you how much this drug costs but you wouldn't believe me.

That's about it for today's medical events. All in all, it was a great day. Friday I'll have a conference call to nail down all the particulars, and then move forward. Not diggin' one foxhole on this end!

Also, when this journey began for me in early 2007, I don't think I ever wrote about it, thinking it was a downer of sorts for people to read. We all have problems and I figure you really don't need or want to know mine. Many people have emailed, called, and sent letters wanting to know how I'm doing, wishing me well. So I decided I'll give a few reports at the beginning. I've documented each step of this process in detail, and at a later date it's possible that I'll put all of it together.

As a tease, though, part of today's discussions involved health care reform--but not from my doctor. I was floored, to say the least. After a few minutes of this, I made one comment and then thought better of it and shut my mouth. But I did want to get up off the table and give a 5 minute block of instruction on the greatness of our country, and I could still make that speech if this topic comes up again.

Thanks for all the support. You have no idea how important it is. God Bless each of ya!

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