Sometimes I see a friend in Boston or stop by Diane's. Occasionally, we go shopping. Again, I'm not talking about buying something big, although I did buy a necklace at my favorite shop in Newton Highlands on a brief (masked) shopping trip with Diane.
Yesterday's visit had a built-in treat. My friend Mieke, who moved to Chicago at the end of the summer, is in Western Massachusetts for a week, and she went with me to Boston. Mieke is a relatively new friend; we met at the newspaper where she was a photographer and where I, athough on leave, am still on staff. We hit it off immediately when going on assignment together and soon became good friends.
Yesterday, we talked and laughed the whole way into Boston, fueled by a muffin each and a Starbucks to go (ouch, I sound like an ad again, sorry), and before I knew it we were there. I was so relaxed that I even forgot to get nervous at my usual spot when approaching Dana-Farber. We talked in the waiting room, and I forgot to worry about my blood counts. And when the counts were good, I was happy to share the news with my friend:
White: 4.9 (normal, yay!)
Platelets: 164 (normal, yay!)
Hematocrit (28.4) and hemoglobin 9.9...down a bit and kind of pokey.
Dr. Alyea reassured me that he wasn't worried about the red count, which often takes the longest to recover. He also told me that I could go every two weeks instead of every week.
I had already graduated once to the two-week plan, but my visits were increased to weekly when my counts went down earlier this fall. It makes me a little nervous to go back to two weeks. I don't actually love spending the whole day going to the clinic, but I do like the security of getting checked once a week.
Oh well, with Mieke to talk to all the way back, I didn't have time to dwell on it.
In another encouraging sign about the success of new therapies in the war against cancer, the Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company Genzyme said yesterday that it has asked the FDA to approve its drug Clolar (clofarabine) for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in previously untreated adults 60 and over whose leukemia may be resistant to standard chemotherapy.
The drug is currently approved for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in relapsed patients one to 21 years old who have received at least two prior treatments.