It has taken me three years to finally cry. Believe me, I don’t cry easily. I was afraid to cry before, because I was worried that I would never be able to stop. Now finally something is being done to help me and I am so relieved. I am not good at doing nothing and sitting idly by. These tears are tears of hope.
My friend George asked me what it means when I wrote that I am a person of faith. I told him that I try every day to live my life so that my actions are loving and they speak louder than my words. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I keep trying. Perhaps this quote sums it up better than I can:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).
And what does this have to do with leukemia? Everything. My faith is my foundation. It is what keeps me grounded in this crazy world with this stupid cancer diagnosis. My faith also makes me accountable. I am reminded of the words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
There is truth to that. So this is something I need to work on every day.
08-22-2012 BLOODWORK (Cycle 2, Day 14)
My bloodwork from August 24th – two weeks after the 135,000 white blood cell count – shows a decrease to 114,300. This is about two weeks earlier than the average time in the study. Usually it isn’t until Cycle 3 that this occurs. This means that if all goes well, I am on the downhill slide of getting rid of the malignant B-cells that have been targeted by the Ibrutinib. In two weeks my body has gotten rid of about 20,000 B-cells. When you consider that a normal person only has 3,000 to 10,000 B-cells total in their blood, that is pretty amazing.
My lymphocyte count is still high. Lymphocytes, as you recall, are a type of white blood cell in the immune system.
My I-Bili (Indirect Bilirubin) is slightly elevated at 0.7, when it should be 0-0.6 mg/dL. This has to do with liver function.
My monocyte count is 1% and it should be between 2-8%. The low monocyte count is a side effect of illnesses of the bone marrow. This often also indicates deficiencies in vitamins such as folates and B-12. I am still getting my B-12 shot every month and taking those pink vitamins every day. Maybe that is why I at least have 1%.
My segmented Neuts are low. They are 5% when they should be 45-75%. Neutrophils are produced in bone marrow and are the body's primary defense against bacterial infection and physiologic stress.
My red blood count is normal.
My blood glucose level is normal. That is the amount of sugar present in my blood.
My platelet count is 156 (normal range 130-400). When the number of platelets is too low, that means that you will bleed easily. If it is too high, blood clots resulting in a stroke can occur.
The only side effect I have been having is a little dizziness when I wake up in the morning, look up, or move my head suddenly. I close my eyes, hang on to something, and breathe slowly. It goes away quickly, unlike my vertigo episodes. It is very minor in comparison.
ON A GOOD NOTE
Dr. Farooqui and Dr. Wiestner are having me work on an infographic illustrating how this magical drug works. This was my suggestion, mainly because I want to understand this process better, and many participants and their families also want to be better informed. It is a work in progress, because the experts are just now finding out the details of how Ibrutinib works.