Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Special Christmas Gift

I can't think of anything that compares to the gift I received this Christmas. Dr. Forte gave me something neither one of us knew he had to give: the Gold Medal!

The plan for the next phase of treatment involves 4-8 months of intensive chemotherapy until the upside down chromosome #16, which acts like a marker for leukemia cells, disappears. Whether I receive 4 rounds of chemotherapy or 8 is dependent on the presence of 16i in my bone marrow. As soon as that marker is completely gone, I'll have one last treatment for good measure. Having qualified for the Olympics when no cancer cells were found under the microscope last week, the real competition takes place in the arena of cytogenetics - with chromosomal indicators like 16i telling us who's winning.

After a week of analysis by the cytogenetic experts, Dr. Forte left me a voicemail and an e-mail on Christmas Eve with "super duper good news": No 16i was found in my bone marrow from last week's biopsy at all! It's like the Olympic committee awarded me the Gold Medal now, and as long as I can hang onto it over the next 4 months, they'll let me keep it!

Although I'll still be in and out of the hospital receiving chemotherapy as planned, I will only need 4 rounds, and I won't need as many bone marrow biopsies along the way. The treatment is still necessary to increase my chances of a long term remission, and eventually - wait for it - a cure. I like the sound of that.

I can't wait to ask Dr. Forte in person how often, in his 45+ years of practice, he's seen this happen. I have a feeling I'm part of yet another rare statistic.

I think that the good and the bad of each twist and turn in this bumpy road of mine can be summed up with the question, "How is this possible?" I ask that question again, knowing that the disappearance of 16i at this stage in the game is truly remarkable. I can think of only one answer: the healing power of prayer. Countless people told me that they were praying for me, and I always knew that my voice was not alone. I thank all of you who were in that blue room with me, giving me strength and faith, reminding me to focus on the light rather than the dark. There is no greater gift we can give to each other and I am truly thankful and humbled by the collective compassion responsible for this magical Christmas gift.



1 comment:

  1. Wow! A triple congratulations is due - and more!It is so great that all that you have gone through is worth it in the end. The 'c' word becomes a good word - CURE!
    Julie F.


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