September 13, 2006 , Day 34
Getting back to a description of Leukemia, I talked last time about the different types of leukemia. However, I didn't really discuss what leukemia is, in a broad sense. Leukemia is a cancer that affects leukocytes, or white blood cells. The cancerous cells proliferate wildly, but never mature, clogging up the bone marrow and making normal production of blood cells impossible. This is why my platelets were so low at the beginning of all this. We caught this relapse pretty early, so I did not have the symptoms of anemia, which would eventually have show up as other blood cell types were not able to be replenished.
I described several different types of leukemia last time. There are Lymphocytic and Myelogenous leukemias. Lymphocytic leukemias affect white cells such as lymphocytes, while Myelogenous leukemias effect white cells such as Basophils, eosinophils, and neutrophils.
I have a form of AML. Let me discuss that a little bit. AMLs are categorized by the stage at which maturation of the cells stops. There are 8 different categories of AML that are designated M0 through M7. My leukemia was originally M0. M0 is one of the more difficult types of AML to treat. I can't find the reference right now, but as I recall, M0 typically has short remission periods and relapses as M5. M5 is also one of the more difficult types of AML to treat.
In my case, I was in remission for about 3 years. Hardly what you would call a short remission. The relapse did return as M5, however. M5 can have various genetic abnormalities that make the prognosis even worse. Fortunately, I don't have any of those abnormalities.
I got called by the hospital today. They want me to come in and get some tests done today. Apparently the biopsy results are good, so the insurance company wants to get some testing done today so we can move forward with collection of stem cells from my brother.
I have lab results from yesterday. Platelets are still coming up nicely!
Blood Cell Type
Have a great day, everyone!
Menchie and Ted
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