by Michael Wells
I came home from the hospital a little early tonight around 8:00pm. I was tired and planned to get to bed early. However, once again I find myself in need of answers more than sleep. In my search for information on pediatric AML with inverted C16 chromosome; I found a rather interesting website http://www.oncologystat.com and I would like to share one of the articles with you. So, if you’re tired and can’t sleep sit down and start reading for this stuff is sure to put any average person to sleep in a “New York Minute.”
Allogeneic (stem cells harvested from a donor) Transplant Is Best Option for Most AML Patients in First Remission As Reported by HealthDay News. 2009 Jun 9
Once patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) experience a first complete remission, they have several treatment options, but the relative benefits of each alternative have not been clear. A new study from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston shows that using compatible donor stem cells in an allogeneic transplant seems to offer the best prognosis for the majority of patients. Allogeneic transplantation has always been the recommended treatment for patients in the high-risk group, who have the poorest prognosis. Most patients fall into the intermediate-risk group, however, and optimal post-remission therapy for these patients was ambiguous.
The researchers analyzed the results from 24 trials that compared the effects of allogeneic stem cell transplantation with those of non allogeneic stem cell transplantation, plus chemotherapy, on relapse-free survival. Results were stratified according to patients’ prognostic category (good, intermediate, or poor). The analysis showed that patients with poor and intermediate prognosis in their first clinical remission had better survival and less likelihood of relapse when they were treated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation than with other options. Their survival was improved by about 40%. The investigators feel that allogeneic stem cell transplantation could become the new standard of care for these patients. The research results were published in the June 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
An interesting article and after the next bone marrow biopsy we will have a much clearer sense of where we are headed. We still do not have any additional data from CHOP regarding Brady’s bone marrow biopsy but I did speak with Dr. Drachtman and he told me CHOP is finding similar results to his. Regardless, it will be the results of Brady’s next bone marrow biopsy that will greatly influence our decision and treatment direction. If stem cell transplantation is the path; Sherrie and I will most likely meet with the doctors of both the Children’s Hospital Boston and the Fred Hutchinson Transplant program at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
All that said, our son is continuing to be just about as normal as any 15 month old can be. With the exception of a couple of rounds of vomiting and diarrhea he is just full of energy and is “lighting” up the hospital with his smile. I don’t mean to boast but regardless of where we are in the hospital someone is stopping us to ask how Brady is doing. Most of the people asking I have no idea who they are or if I ever met them. It’s embarrassingly cool to say the least!
Brady has completed his second round of chemotherapy and now we wait and watch his blood count disappear. Today his white count was down to 2.6 on its way to near zero. Then its recovery time and hopefully we will be out of the hospital no later than the first week in January.
My apologies for making this journal entry so heavy but before I say good-night, let me share my morning with you. Brady slept through the entire night; he woke around 6:00 and was just as happy as he could be. I decided to give him a sponge bath before Sherrie arrived so he would be nice and clean. As I was getting all the necessary items together – a tub of warm water, wash cloths, towels, clothes, diaper, lotions etc; I noticed a lovely aromatic aroma coming from him as he sat in his crib – he needed his diaper changed. No problem or so I thought. I turned for a few seconds away from him to get the tub of water from the sink and when I got back to his crib he was covered from head to toe (I’ll be nice) in feces. He had crap all over him, his IV tubing, his bedding, even in his hair. No problem I said to myself as I set down the tub of water next to Brady in his crib. This turned out to be a BIG mistake. As I tried to remove all his stuffed animals, toys, pillows out of the crib Brady decided to turn the tub upside down and out flowed about a gallon of soapy water. Now, we had a mess beyond your imagination; now watery crap was flowing all over the place! Oh, it was a great way to start the day but in hindsight very funny.
Until tomorrow; smile as you keep Brady in your prayers, hugs and thoughts…
“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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