Light at the End of the Tunnel

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Oct 30 2014

If you're at least a more-or-less regular reader of this blog, you must be all too familiar with the above graph. After all, it shows how the total number of white blood cells in my blood has varied over time, and it is clear that it hasn't varied much at all "in many moons" now. So, at first glance, it's just another "Total White Blood Cells since the start of the clinical trial" graph.

Similarly, the "% Lymphocytes & Neutrophils since the start of the trial" graph above should look very familiar, too, and, once again, it can be seen that the percentages of neutrophils and lymphocytes haven't varied very much in a long time, either. However, if you look just a little more closely, at either graph, you might notice that I have added a new "milestone" vertical line over to the right end of each graph, labeled "Part C Ends".

Yes, INDEED, Part C is about to end, and (on November 10th, 2014) my very next visit to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute will be my last visit there as a participant in the clinical trial that I joined about 2 and 1/2 years ago. So, I can now easily see "light at the end of the tunnel".

Actually, the light at the end of the 2-and-1/2-year tunnel has been visible for a while, and it has been lately looking brighter and brighter,...

...but maybe not clearer and clearer -- you see, the light has also brought some uncertainty, as well.

If you think about it for just a bit, you maybe can realize that, during the trial, things were either supposed to improve greatly (back in the earlier months of the trial), or to remain the same (throughout most of the trial) -- and that's exactly what has happened.

However, the light at the end can also show a slight down side, too -- that is, it can offer some uncertainty - ...


You see, after I was diagnosed, but before I started treatment in this clinical trial, I was in the limbo of a (not long enough) "Watch and Wait" period.

During that W&W period, changes in my blood did take place, slowly at first, and then a little more rapidly toward the end of it,...

...but, in a sense, I still had a light at the end of that W&W "tunnel", which was this clinical trial, which - I was convinced - would offer a dramatic improvement in my condition.

However, now that I am nearing the end of the clinical trial, even as I am aware that it has fully lived up to my expectations,...

I will shortly be entering a new phase, during which I really do ~not~ know just what will happen, or when.

Presumably, I will see no signs of disease for a while (and hopefully it will be a ~long~ while), but that is an uncertainty.

Life is full of uncertainty, of course, but I am merely trying to explain how, in this case, the brightening light at the end of the tunnel can also be just a bit unsettling.

Oh, well -- I guess that this anxiety that I am trying to describe to you is likely just a normal reaction to having to enter a new phase in my life.

~SO~, considering that I am indeed ~fortunate~ to be able to reach that light at the end of the tunnel,...

...I really should concentrate on ~rejoicing~, as I enter my new future,...


Categories: General, Leukemia

August Update

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Aug 26 2014

What I said for the "July Update" is still basically true, although recently I have had a difficult time dealing with some arthritic conditions, the worst of which have (thankfully) been resolved.

So, without further ado, here are the usual "boring" charts:

As you can see from the above, the total white cells are still well within the "normal" range, while the lymphocytes are still (intentionally) quite low (seemingly almost non-existent), so the neutrophils get to be quite numerous.

Finally, I am pleased to report that I am still on track for finishing this clinical trial in November, which should make for quite a transition. :-)

Categories: General, Leukemia

July Update

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Jul 31 2014

Medically, things are still going "boringly" quite well. I still have fatigue, the level of which does vary from day to day, and it is (I hope) likely due to the concoction of meds that I take (some every day, some every two weeks, and some every eight weeks). "The numbers" still look good -- the total white cell count continues to be kept (artificially) "normal"...

... while the lymphocytes are still being kept intentionally suppressed, allowing the neutrophils to be plentiful...


So, as I said, things are still going "boringly" well (especially when the alternatives are considered)... :-)

Categories: General, Leukemia