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.
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.