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Saturday, June 28, 2003 Medical Update

I am starting to get organized now.  I have set up a group that I am going to be sending an update to when I can.  It may be daily, or not.  Please do not respond to all if you just want to get to me.  If you don't want to get this information, please let me know, and I will take you off the list.  I am thinking about posting this information on my website also, so interested parties can go look up back issues.  If I get that set up, I will let the group know.

I have gotten my regular email account set up, so I don't need to use webmail any more.  That is generally more convenient for me.  If you get confusing information about my email account, just be sure to respond to messages at

I think everyone is pretty much up to speed on my medical situation right now, but I will summarize.  I have been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (M0).  This version is pretty bad, so the doctors are pursuing an extremely aggressive chemotherapy campaign.  As a backup, the doctors will be contacting my brother and sister about getting an HLA test to see if they can be bone marrow donors.  For those interested in such things, I am getting ARA-C continuously for 7 days, along with three daily treatments of idarubicin.  Thats the chemotherapy.  I am getting anti-nausea pills and a steroid that is supposed to protect my smooth muscles from the effects of the chemotherapy drugs.  One of the major risks of this treatment is infection, so I am being given a variety of antibiotics and other drugs to help me avoid sores and infections.  As various blood cell counts go down, the prophylaxis gets more aggressive also.  For example, if my platelet count goes below 50,000, I can't brush my teeth any more.  I have some foam swabs that I use to clean my teeth.  A great deal of care is exercised to ensure that exposure to harmful pathogens is avoided.  I can move around and even go outside, as long as I have a respirator mask on.

My platelet count is about 25000 today.  When that count goes below 15000, I will be getting a platelet transfusion.  I don't know what my other blood cell counts are at the moment.

Yesterday was an intimidating and scary day.  I didn't sleep well the night before.  I slept real well last night, for the most part, and I feel real good this morning.  Menchie and I walked for over 45 minutes this morning, and we will probably repeat that a couple more times today.  I am hoping to work back up to about 1 hour, three times a day of walking or other exercise.  I will try to keep this up as long as it is not too fatiguing from the anemia.

Well, that's enough for now.  I hope you all have a great weekend!



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