Don't bury the headline: bone marrow results from Tuesday were normal. Everything was good. The leukemia appears to be among the missing, but not missed at this point. It has been beaten down to a level so low we cannot find it anymore, but it is still there in the corners in very small amounts and would come back if we gave it half a chance. Therefore, we will do more chemo. It turns out I was wrong and it's only three or four more rounds of chemo with maybe a stem cell transplant from me (autologous is the fancy word for it) thrown in for good measure. At this point, we are not anticipating the donor bone marrow transplant that had me so worried before to be necessary at all at any point. I'll talk a little about the difference between an autologous and allogeneic (from somebody else) another day.
Today's visit was sort of odd in that the fellow, Dr. Kebbekus, seemed to have become my main doctor with Dr. Hill just coming in at the end to say hi and check on the important details. Terry says that I am no longer interesting now that I am getting better and have become a "fellow case." That is OK; as I tell my patients all the time you don't want your doctor to find you interesting. (Sometimes we joke about the worst thing to hear one's doctor say, "O, I've read about this, but never seen it before" is usually people's favorite for things they don't want to hear me say.) At any rate, they both agree that I should go back to chemo jail on August 3'rd (Friday) for five days of chemo. The way it works is two doses twelve hours apart on day 1, 3 and 5. Usually they do the first dose in the evening and the last dose in the morning so the whole thing takes six days by the time it gets organized, the line is put in, etc. So, I think that means in Friday, out Wednesday am. The good thing about this admission is that I won't be neutropenic at all (my immune system will not really be affected by the chemo until I get home) so I can skip the mask and go outside and be a fairly normal person except that I will be a hospital patient.
Afterwards I will go home to recover and if I do well and don't have fevers, I can stay home. I will have to go in for blood counts a lot and possibly some transfusions. If I do get fevers, I think I can go to CMC to get treated for them (yeah for local hospital!). Then after I feel good, we'll do it again, but only 3 or 4 times which is better than the 5 I had somehow thought would be required.
After the appointment, we went to the coop which is a nice post hospital visit tradition we are developing. They have good yogurt and sandwiches there so I ate dinner on the way home while Terry fought with all the people who left work early to get a jump on drunk driving their way to the beach.