Saturday, December 5, 2009

Platelet Numbers Increasing

I've had CLL since October, 1998. I 'celebrated' my anniversary this last October by doing nothing, since being diagnosed with a terrible, incurable disease which will likely take my life is nothing to celebrate. Curse, maybe, but not celebrate.

As my rare reader probably knows, I started on a phase II clinical trial of Alvocidib (flavopiridol) in late July. I'm a bit more than half-way through the trial, which, if I make it that far, will last nine months and end in the latter part of March, 2010. (An aside: I wonder if this change in the year will FINALLY cause people to stop saying the year in the most ridiculous manner possible, i.e. two thousand and nine instead of the proper, twenty-oh-nine. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did we say, for example, 1998 as one thousand, nine hundred and ninety eight? I don't think so...)

I get a weekly blood draw; when I'm in San Diego, it's through my port, when on my infrequent trial holidays, it's through the veins in my arm here in Sacramento. I noted a trend about a month ago that my platelets were up a bit. I've been running below normal in my platelets since about 2003. Nothing major, but they've oscillated up and down between 55 and 95, usually hanging out around 70-80. My count on October 9, 2009, for example, was 82. This is not a dangerous place to be, but I don't go skydiving or race cars as I don't what a subdural bleed. No siree!

The last three blood tests in November, the last two done here in Sacramento, show the improvement continues. My 11-12 test shows my platelets were at 95. On 11-18, they topped 100 for the first time in many years at 101. My November 25 blood draw had the platelet numbers at 134, the first time it has been in the normal range, as I've said, in many years.

I can only guess this is the doing of the flavopiridol. None of the other treatments that I can recall worked so well on platelets.

Obviously, I'm pleased.

And while this happy situation won't last forever, and my number will likely slink back to the less happy situation of low platelets and increasing tumor burden, today, I will make the most of it. I was thinking that I don't have to have any real worries about shaving, getting cut, having nosebleeds, bleeding profusely at the slightest nick, and so on. I might even take a fish oil tablet for the heck of it, since heart disease runs in the family, and I now have enough platelets to clog an artery or two.

The other numbers are still in the abnormal range, though the hemoglobin has been above 10.0 for over quite a while, at least out of the danger range for well over a year (I've had to have blood transfusions on a number of occasions - thank you blood donors!!!).

So the platelet counts are fab, and I'm thankful for that. I still have CLL cells everywhere, but they have been beaten back for the time being. And in spite of those bureaucrats, especially in socialized medicine England, who say six months of extra life if just no big deal, I will tell you that my decent health since I've started flavopiridol is priceless to me.

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