Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Now, crashing neutrophils

As I tell my wife, if it's not one thing, it's another. Seriously. I have a new health complaint everyday. Sometimes it's a sore foot. Next day, a painful back. The next, pain in my abdominal nodes. And the next, a headache.

Occasionally, I have a good day. That is a bad thing. If I go through the day, and say to myself, you know, I had a pretty good day! In fact, I feel fine! How nice!

That means I will be in the hospital the next day. No good day goes unpunished for me. I'm serious. This ALWAYS happens. ALWAYS. Without exception. EVER.

I had a good weekend. I felt kind of tired Saturday, but I got the truck out and finally clean out the pile of stuff the gutter guys left when they re-did my gutters. I told them I'd dispose of things if I could get a cheaper price.

Sunday, another good day. Church was nice. By Sunday afternoon, I thought maybe I had crossed the creek. My painful nodes were history. My fever was over and done with. I had lots of energy and got lots done.

Never tempt fate.

The next day, I got a copy of my lab results from Friday. They show 2% neutrophils. That's not good when your WBC is 4.4. Doing the math, that means my absolute neutrophil count is about 100. Way below the 500 cut-off for serious neutropenia. It's at the same level that I had when I was in the hospital with a 105 degree fever. It's tied for the worst I've every had.

I'm off CAL-101, and I think they are trying to ditch me from the trial forever. Stanford wants me to tell them that I've progressed on CAL-101, but I don't know if that's true. I know this latest blood work suggests that my CLL has skyrocketed, but I've been off CAL-101 for almost three weeks.

Listen to your body. If it is telling you that you are doing well, you are in big trouble.


Anonymous said...

Hi Barry. I like your blog b/c it has a lot of facts.

This might sound like a silly question, and I hope I don't offend you but I was just wondering if you ever had ct scans or barium x-ray procedures at any time before you were diagnosed with CLL. I have heard CLL is the ONE leukemia that is not linked to radiation, but I have my doubts since my grandfather worked at a nuclear power plant and he got CLL. Have you ever thought about researching radiation and cancer?

Barry B. said...

Thanks. I never had a CT scan, but I've had lots of dental X-rays (lousy teeth) and I've had a barium scan for digestive problems. Who knows? Maybe that triggered the cancer?

AKA said...

What do you think of John Gofman's theory that the vast majority of cancer is caused by radiation?

I've looked at somem of the LSS Hiroshima data and read the BEIR reports and I remember it said that CLL was the only form of leukemia not linked to radiation.

I'm a EE undergrad but in the last 2 years I've been studying medical radiation a lot in my spare time. I haven't read Gofman's books but his theory seems very tenable.

A lot of other studies bear this out like the one on tineas capitis, women with tubeculosis x-rays, scoliosis x-rays, watch-dial painters who used radioactive paints, and many others.

There are a lot of carcinogens and mutagens out there, but I don't think any of them have as direct and unhindered access to a cell's dna the way radiation does. And the fact that tobacco is a carcinogen yet it also contains traces of radioactive polonium (which is possibly the main culprit in lung cancer from smoking) leads me to believe that radiation is a BIG deal when it comes to causing cancer.

Now, I'm against smoking, but I think its from utter complacency on the part of NIH that there are surgeon general warnings on tobacco yet not when a doctor gives you a ct scan. There's no informed consent or anything, and most doctors don't even know how much radiation is in a cat scan (a huge dose compared to x-rays).

It's so ironic that we cured all the diseases that plagued 19th century mankind, and most people were able to live into their 80s and enjoy life, but now we have created a new plague for ourselves in the form of cancer, a plague that may outdo tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid, and polio all combined. This epidemic didn't start with any flees, rats, or mosquitos. Instead it coincided with the use of diagnostic x-rays.

What disturbs me the most however, and maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong here, since you work in research, is that all the epidemiological studies on radiation causing cancer, they all use the GENERAL POPULATION as the control group. But this obviously skews the results and makes radiaton look less harfmul because the gen. pop. is exposed to diagnostic x-rays.

And in the LSS Cohort studies on Hiroshima, they used Hiroshima survivors who lived nearby and in Hiroshima after the bomb as the control, yet no one can deny they were exposed to radiation. It has the effect of making the RR, Relative Risk, of radiation from the study group decrease.

In every study I have looked at they all do this. It seems dishonest and duplicitous to me, personally. I think should know better since they are scientists. I think it proves that in this modern age we still have not extricated science and politics.

I hope you are doing well in spite of everything you're having to deal with, and I wish you all the best. I hope they find a cure in time for you and my grandfather and others who are fighting this.

Barry B. said...

I think the jury is still out on radiation and cancer. For a long time, I felt that perhaps dental X-rays were responsible for my CLL, as I had extensive, multiple X-rays on my teeth when I was young. And the doses were much higher back then.

And the area they X-rayed was my neck, where lots of lymph nodes are.

OTOH, I also had a serious case of mononucleosis when I was a young man, with huge lymph nodes in my neck. The disease finally abated, but that may also have had something to do with it.

Bottom line, avoid all sources of radiation you can. X-rays are a potent cause of cancer, and that's not in dispute.