Monday, November 24, 2008

Good news Monday

When possible, it's nice to plan something special for yourself in conjunction with a visit to your doctor's office or to the clinic. This doesn't have to be something big. It can just be some little treat.

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.


susiegb said...

Congratulations on the counts - you're definitely ahead of me now!!

Susan C said...

I saw Mieke's post on a Golden Girls party. She sure sounds like a lot of fun.

I know what you mean about the transition from weekly to bi-weekly visits. I was so used to living life by the numbers that I became addicted to the weekly reassurance.

So pleased to read about the great numbers.

PJ said...

Great numbers! I had Clolar experimentally, and it did the trick. I didn't realize the company's in Cambridge.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot in my life to be thankful for. Your recent good counts and having you for a close friend and tennis buddy are two more reasons. Yay!!!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Ronni Gordon said...

Never mind about the two-week anxiety. I just learned that the CMV is back, so now I need to go back on Valcyte and back to one week since both the virus and the drug will probably lower my counts, again...arrgggh.

Ann said...

Sorry about the CMV. Grrr. Your numbers look great and I hope you're feeling really well. Try and eat too much pie and or pastry tomorrow. I hear it's the cure for what ails you. :)

Susan C said...

I double your arrgh (did I spell that right?) about the CMV. Are you feeling any symptoms?

Ronni Gordon said...

Because they catch it so early, I haven't developed any symptoms. I was worried last time when it took its time going away, because of course I looked it up on the Internet and read all sorts of scary things, such as that full-blown, it can lead to blindness, etc., although I think that usually it doesn't do much.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the things I miss about being in W. Mass is just being able to swap plans last-minute and take a ride with you to Boston. I love our chats on the way there and back. It's the only time I get to blabber on about my life! You are great at listening and giving good advice. And I love hearing about your family history and growing up in New York. Ack. I just miss you!!!!