February 2020 – My last Post!

Welcome to my last blog post covering my Leukaemia journey from August 2017 to February 2020 – almost two and a half years.

In mid January I underwent a series of two year post bone marrow transplant tests including a bone marrow biopsy (to detect signs of leukaemia), a bone density test, heart test, lung function and others.  I had 13 separate blood samples taken for a range of blood tests.

blood tests
13 separate blood samples for my two year tests that showed all counts in the normal range

My wife, Jan and I met with  Amit Khot, my haematologist in late January to receive the good news that I was technically in ‘molecular remission’ – basically cured of cancer, with less than 5% chance of relapse.  This was wonderful news – many people don’t survive this nasty disease.  I am in the lucky category!

Almost all my blood counts are now in the normal range and I feel fit and healthy – almost back to my pre-diagnosis health.  The main issues I currently deal with are quite minor and ‘at the fringe’ being GVHD, largely of the soft tissues in my mouth and some minor aches and pains of muscles and bone joints. These things can be easily managed and don’t affect my day to day activities much at all.

I must say I am eternally grateful for many things and would like to thank the many people have helped me return to health:

  • The wonderful medical and support staff at RMH and Peter MacCallum – in particular Professor John Seymour and Dr Amit Khot
  • My gorgeous wife (and proof reader!) Jan who stayed by my side for many months advocating for my return to health
  • My wonderful family who have supported me through some pretty tough times and in particular our wonderful children Claire, Lachlan and Dougall.
  • My brother Tony who donated his stem cells (bone marrow) to keep me alive
  • Our friends who have wished me well and made special efforts to visit and keep in touch
My family supported me through the treatment of this nasty disease. I couldn’t have done it without them!

I am now moving onto 3 and then 6 monthly blood tests and checkups and anticipate that my focus on leukaemia will wane as I move forward with my life.

I have recently contributed an article for the AML news – a special newsletter produced by the Leukaemia Foundation and you can read it on my Blog under the home page.

My treatment for Leukaemia has been an incredible experience, with some challenging situations and one of learning and growth.  Whilst I would not wish it on anyone I do implore those with a similar diagnosis to stay focused and positive in an attempt to manage your own recovery.

Thankyou to each and everyone who has connected with my blog and have taken the time to send messages of support.  This support was a key factor in my recovery.

I wish you all health and happiness in your own lives.

Good friend Dr John Preddy from Wagga who helped me with the best contacts and information in the early days of my treatment.
My brother Tony saved my life with his bone marrow (stem cell) transplant. What a gift!