Friday the 13th

For the last few days, concern has been increasing over the fact that George’s white blood cell count hasn’t started going back up after this last round of chemo. Dr Ghimire expressed his concern on the phone when he called earlier this week to discuss the results of the blood work George had on the base. He said it could just be that it’s taking an unusually long time for his counts to come back up, but that there was a chance it could mean his leukemia had returned and he had relapsed. He ordered a cytometry flow blood test and when it came back a few days later, there was no leukemia in his blood. So, that was encouraging! However, the next week, his blood counts were still not improving, so Dr. Ghimire discussed it with Dr. Loren and it was agreed that a bone marrow biopsy should be performed to make sure there was no leukemia in the marrow. Ok, that’s kind of disconcerting.

When to see Dr. Loren for the follow up, she said it wasn’t normal, but would be very surprised if the leukemia had returned and that it may just be a “sluggish recovery.” That’s what we are praying for!

George had an appointment with Dr. Ghimire today. During this visit, he seemed a bit more concerned because now George’s platelets had dropped as well. But, all this is normal for chemotherapy and during both of his last rounds, he needed platelet transfusions eventually. What it feels like to us is that this treatment is taking longer to get George to the nadir (the lowest point) and to where he would need blood and/or platelet transfusions. But, I’m no doctor. We are hoping they are acting out of an abundance of precaution and to rule out relapse, rather than confirm it.

George’s appointment was at 8:00 this morning, so we left the house at 7:00. We got there and were called back almost immediately. Dr. Ghimire talked about the bone marrow biopsy again and then said he wanted him to get his blood drawn at the lab and if his platelets were lower, he wanted him to get a platelet transfusion. So, we went over to the lab and they drew George’s blood. We waited for the results, and sure enough….he was called back for a platelet transfusion. Everything seemed to take forever. He was seated in the transfusion area, but then there was a consent form he had to sign, and then they had to call the blood bank across the street to bring the platelets over. Meanwhile, they gave him Tylenol and Benadryl to take before the transfusion.

Once they hooked up the platelets, it only took about 45 minutes. But we didn’t get out of there until after 1:00! Neither of us had had any breakfast. And we wouldn’t get home until 2:20….I was hangry! They did have snacks on hand, though…and I had a bag of pretzels and noshed on a protein bar I had in my purse. But, still.

Platelet infusion – Infusion Row.

When they brought the platelets, they gave us this little card. You can send a thank you to the person who donated the platelets. I think this is such a wonderful thing! George’s sister donates platelets every other week and she said when she gets thank you messages, it makes her feel wonderful. Like she has played a part in preserving or saving someone’s life…and she has! And so has the person that donated the platelets George received today. We are so grateful to people who donate blood and platelets…now more than ever.

We will be holding our breath until George has his bone marrow biopsy next Tuesday and we get the results. But we also have a busy week next week. In addition to the bone marrow biopsy, George has a Transthoracic Echo (TTE) scheduled to make sure his heart is healthy enough for the intense chemo used during the conditioning phase of the bone marrow transplant. He also has a Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) to make sure his lungs are strong and healthy enough. As of now, we are still looking at late June or July for the transplant. I am praying nothing throws a kink in those plans….

George continues to feel good, if not a little tired. He works in the home office all day and walks 2 miles after work at the track on the base. He has a good appetite and sleeps well. For all that, we are thankful.

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