Week 67 – The last blog

This will be my last blog (well at least for quite some time) as things are moving along well and I don’t have much to report on a weekly or even monthly basis.

I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful support and well wishes to both Jan  and I during the year.  It has been very encouraging and certainly a big help with my recovery.

We would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and festive season and a great New Year.  Hopefully mine will continue to see improvement and by this time next year things will be even better still.

My last tests were very encouraging as all blood counts have bounced back up again.

Red Blood Cells (Hb) –  121, White Blood Cells (Wcc) – 6.9, Platelets – 96, Neutrophils – 3.7, Potassium – 4.6, Magnesium – 0.71 and Creatinine 96.

After the previous tests where the blood counts had all started to drop off this is quite good news.

Jan and I met with Amit Khot, our BMT consultant, in Melbourne last Friday.  He was happy with progress and has kept me on a low dose of steroids to help with the lingering GVHD of my liver.  This is one aspect that will probably plague me for many months but being in the chronic phase is not life threatening.  Unfortunately the downside of remaining on steroids is the need to take a large number of other drugs to counter act the side effects.  I am down to around 24 tablets each day!

With Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) the survival rates continually improve with each month that passes post Bone Marrow Transplant.  Unlike most cancers where after 5 years without a relapse you are considered to be cured with AML this milestone is around 2 years.  Most re-lapses occur within this timeframe.  If you are clear at two years post transplant then there is a 95% chance of survival.  They will never guarantee 100%!

Amit tells me my immune system is probably around 70-80% of a fully functioning system so although reasonably robust I still need to take precautions.  He has recommended using a mask when gardening or mowing the lawn to avoid fungal infections.

I asked my medical team if my bone marrow was now fully functional and although they have acknowledged this is stable and should not fluctuate wildly they would not say too much more – haematology is a non-precise science!

The other interesting fact is that my blood group will change to my brother’s.  I am O and he is A.

When people’s blood group changes, it is common to see a big drop in haemoglobin, sometimes requiring transfusion. Eventually I will transition from O+ to A+, and when it happens, I will see a Hb drop, or if the blood tests show that Hb suddenly starts to drop, it is assumed the blood group might be changing, and I will need to repeat a ‘group and screen’ (blood test), to see if my blood group is changing, and if there are new antibodies being developed.

Other matters

We have enjoyed being back in Tassie and had a few people over for a paddock BBQ one weekend.  Dougall had a few mates for the weekend including one of his buddies from  Yale.

Last weekend we travelled up to Wagga for various functions and stayed with good friends the Zacharia’s.  We haven’t seen Bernie and Zac for a number or years but it seemed just like the other day.  The Preddy’s joined us for dinner on Saturday.

My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and we had a wonderful family get together at the Hyatt Canberra Hotel which was the place of their wedding reception back in 1957.

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14 thoughts on “Week 67 – The last blog

  1. Thank you Geoff for such an informative series of blogs throughout the year and educating us on the highs and lows of fighting leukaemia.
    Have a fantastic Christmas with all your family and wishing you a very happy and extra healthy new year!

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  2. I will miss your blog though its end means your good health! Love to all and best wishes for a bright festive season. Love Gx

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  3. Great news Geoff. Hope you and Jan have a good Christmas and a great New Year.
    Hopefully we will see you in Tassie in Feb. Cheers

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  4. Merry Xmas to you and Jan and the kids mate, here’s to a fantastic 2019 for you all.
    See you in the new year
    Lots of love from the Hodge clan

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  5. Wonderful news that you are doing so well Geoff! Congratulations to Helen and Hugh! Great family photo!
    Our best wishes for a beautiful Christmas and a happy 2019!
    Love from Belgium, Nadine, Gino, Hanne and Tine xxx

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  6. So glad to read this last installment – as I have said many times – you two are champions – thanks so much for taking the time to keep us in loop – hopefully will down to Tasmania in 2019 to see you in situ :). Sending lots of love to you all Geoff and Hoddy xo

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  7. Hi Geoff
    I echo the previous comments about the great news bit will miss the blog
    Look forward to catching up some time now you well that is not a funeral for a few beers
    Cheers chris and Cathy

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  8. Geoff, a most informative read over the last year and more importantly a great outcome. Well written and keep up the progress as to move to a A blood type. I hope you have had a super x-mas.
    Mg.

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  9. Hey Geoff and Jan,
    We have been thinking of you all over Christmas and the new year!!

    Wishing you more time on your bike and less time in hospitals.

    See you in 2019 xx with lots of love

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  10. So happy this is your last blog!!!
    Wishing all of you a bright happy and healthy 2019. Onwards and upwards Hamiltons!
    Sue xx

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