by Michael Wells
My watch and I can’t sleep the “window rack” is killing my back. The accommodations at The Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Bristol Meyer Squibb Children’s Hospital are not designed for a 6’2” 216 lbs. guy. Or perhaps they really are designed with a purpose other than pain; maybe they’re designed to keep you awake to watch over your child and write weird stuff in your blog at 2:00am. I don’t know but if you ever have the misfortune to come to this facility plan to leave with little sleep and a very sore back.
Anyway, let me bring you up to date on the blasts saga, to do so let’s review exactly what the heck a blast is.
“Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of blood-forming cells in the bone marrow. Abnormal immature white blood cells (blasts) fill the bone marrow and spill into the bloodstream. Production of normal blood cells is affected, causing anemia, bleeding problems and infections. Treatment is mainly with chemotherapy. The outlook varies and depends on factors such as the exact sub-type of the AML and your age.” Patient UK
I think this definition I found online is simple and well written. Anyway, blasts and the percentage they represent in some magical test matrix determine whether your cancer is or is not in remission. Hence, I no longer follow the box scores of my 4 favorite sport teams I follow the daily CBC. The Complete Blood Count test performed everyday on Brady to see what his blood looks like. And for the past 2 days the results have rivaled any Yankee Red Sox game I’ve ever watched.
Thursday the blasts are at 4% and everyone is excited because anything less the 5% is considered remission. Friday morning tests come in at 12% and literally panic sets into Dr. Drachtman’s team and sends Sherrie and I into our rationalization anecdotal dialogs of “it’s to be expected” and “it really doesn’t mean much.” All the while we are scared beyond any non profane description.
Dr. Drachtman has another CBC performed and personally requests the Director of Pathology (Dr. Cadoff) to review the test results of both Thursday and Friday. Dr. Cadoff comes back with totally different results 3% for both days. Saturday’s results come in at 2% and life is good in Brady’s ballpark.
However, Dr. Drachtman wants to have a bone marrow biopsy performed first thing (7:30am) Monday morning a week earlier than originally scheduled and he will personally perform it. Monday’s test results will confirm the all the crap coming out of pathology and hopefully have Brady on his way home by Tuesday. I would much rather be reviewing the stats from the UCONN game than waiting for these results. If UCONN can beat Notre Dame then Brady can without a doubt knock his blasts out of the park!!
While all of this insanity is going on our son is about as happy, active and demanding as any 15 month old toddler can be. Yes, Brady is now 15 months old; he came in here a 13 month old baby and is hopefully going to be leaving this Tuesday as a 15 month old toddler with his cancer in full remission.
So, that’s it for now (I’ve got to get some sleep) as always; please continue to keep our son in your prayers, thoughts and hugs…
“8 Years Later—Still No Cure for Pediatric Cancer” is a series of posts revisiting the journal kept by Sherrie and Michael Wells during the cancer diagnosis and treatment of their son, Brady Michael. Hopefully these entires will provide an understanding of the journey families face when dealing with these horrific diseases and of the important work the Hugs for Brady Foundation does.
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