Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Good Lab News

Our EHR (the electronic chart of all the medical records where I work and get my care) is down again, but before it crashed, I was able to view most of my lab results from 3 days ago.

Remember that I had gone a full six weeks between my lab tests and IVIG infusions to control by ITP, representing the longest period my veins haven't been probed for blood in the last seven years and the longest period ever between immunoglobulin infusions.

And the news was only good.

First the CBC.

For first time in many years, I have two blood counts in a row that showed no anemia. My hemoglobin was a robust 14.4.

My platelets were even better, an amazing 405,000. Although I have had a splenectomy, and they would be expected to be higher than in the reported average, this is still a super result, reinforcing the safety of the move to extend the time between infusions. It wasn't that long ago that I needed treatments every two weeks to keep my platelets in a safe range.

My absolute lymphocytes (ALC) was nice and low at 1.2. I want it low because those are the cells that make up my cancer. A high ALC usually means the leukemia has returned. My ANC (infection fighting neutrophils) was a healthy 6.2.

Blood chemistries showed that my liver and kidneys are doing a superior job of ridding me of any toxins or waste, and my sugar, minerals, and electrolytes are well balanced. Uric acid which often rockets up when taking cyclosporin as I do stayed well below the point when it comes out of solution and can cause the agonies of gout. This last result I particularly attribute to my vegan and nearly completely alcohol free diet.

Even my iron studies, consistently low in the past and likely one of the negative results of my longterm meatless diet, had inched their way into the bottom of the normal range, suggesting that using the cast iron skillet and eating more collard greens and molasses was slowly filling my empty tank.

And to top off the good times, my blood pressure was around 110/60 even with an IV in my arm.

When the computers are back up, I will check my Vitamin D, zinc and IGG levels.

I have grown accustomed to getting good lab results, but I never take them for granted and I am always grateful.

Next week, I am off to Ohio for my 84 day check in with yet another set of CT scans and more lab. On the way there, I am leaving early so that I can stop in the bay area to kvell (Yiddish for to feel proud and happy, especially applicable to one's offspring) over my granddaughters, and on the way home, I will be visiting friends in Missouri.

But that is the only travel planned for all of July! It is great to have some down time at home. Even with my boring labs, I still get tired and need my rest. Except for the fatigue, and the constant background noise about my impaired immunity and a host of other potential but G-d willing never going to happen concerns, my CLL is a non-event.

I believe that after this set of scans, I can go a whole six months between imaging, but not between visits to OSU and Dr. Byrd.  Enough scans already!

Starting late in August, American Airline will offer direct flights from LA to Columbus. It may be almost worth the unpredictable drive up the 405 from Newport Beach to LAX to avoid the stopover in Dallas or Chicago for my next trial visit. That could be nice.

I remain busy with prepping video and news material for the blog. Expect the second part of my ASCO 2013 Wierda interview on prognostic factors to be posted here soon.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear your good news. As one approaching first therapy, I was excitied to see the FDA action date for obinutuzamab is December 20th and that the NDA for ibrutinib was filed for relapsed/refratory cll. I am a medical researcher for a major pharmaceutical company and I am optimistic both will be available for use soon. Good news for all. Thanks for the blog, it is great.

July 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Wow that's fantastic news Brian. After all you've been through finally a treatment that is working wonderfully for you, and long may it continue to do so.

July 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM  

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