Community Magazine

Good News on the Home Front and Sad News at the Hospital

By Bkoffman
I have managed to stay out of the infusion center where I get my IVIG for a full five weeks and my lab results today were great.
My hemoglobin was the highest it has been in years (14.7) and finally well within the normal range, my platelets were over 400,000 and my ALC was about 1.3 and my WBC around 10.
Maybe it was my wife's Cajun gingerbread with all that blackstrap molasses boosting my iron while my ibrutinib controls my disease and keeps my counts in check, and my cyclosporin and IVIG shut down my ITP.
Whatever it is, it is good news.
As I have preached before, I mustn't get too excited by one blood count. It is the trend that matter. And for my mental health, it is best to smooth out the high and lows, but I wanted share this piece of good news before I head off to ASCO 2103.
With these encouraging results, I am now planning to stretch out my IVIG infusions to every six weeks with my doctor's blessing.  Not so long ago it was every three weeks that I was getting poked and infused. My veins are most thankful for the respite.
On a much more tragic note, last week I lost a colleague, a compassionate and talented surgeon from my local hospital with whom I had worked for decades. He had chosen to keep his CLL and other blood issues more private. We shared many confidence about our battles and I will miss him and the life he gave back to many of our mutual patients though his skilled interventions. 
His last few months were very difficult. Rest in peace, my friend.
This is a cancer that still plays for keeps. It picks no favorites. 
We need to decide wisely on our therapies. We need to get these new drugs to market soon. There are lives in the balance.

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