Well another week has passed and the good news is everything is still fine – no high temperatures, no emergency trips to the hospital – just the Monday and Thursday visit for IV fluids and regular blood checks.
The Doctors were a little concerned about my haemoglobin levels last Thursday so I received just one unit of blood as a top up.
The Graft Vs Host disease (GVHD) that I have experienced in my liver – is treated with large doses of steroids to damp down the immune response that is causing the GVHD.
The steroids also reduce my ability to keep the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) under control. I therefore require the anti-viral drug, Valganciclovir to hold the CMV back.
Valganciclovir has an impact on my stem cell’s ability to produce white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. My neutrophil count is now down to just 1.0 with anything less than 0.5 meaning I am neutropenic and at significant risk of infections.
What is very obvious is that the treatment of leukemia is a huge juggling act. There are a myriad of drugs the medical team can use but one usually has a side effect on something else – requiring another drug to help treat the side effect.
And when you are over the ‘danger’ period the doctors ‘wean’ you off these drugs slowly – usually one at a time. This requires patience as it will take quite a few weeks before the team will be able to remove the majority of drugs associated with the GVHD and CMV issues.
So for the time being I am down to 25 tablets a day still a large cocktail but noticeably less than the maximum of 44.
We have had a great weekend catching up with my sister Fiona and husband Michael who live in Bangkok but were back for a short break in Australia. Michael just happens to be Jan’s younger brother so it keeps things close at family gatherings!
We managed to fit in quite a few activities including a footy match at Etihad Stadium (Michael is a big Fan of the Western Bulldogs who flogged Essendon who are supported by the rest of Michael’s family!).
On Monday afternoon we hired a small boat for another Yarra trip to show Michael and Fiona the city sites. It was a great autumn afternoon in Melbourne with almost perfect weather.