Saturday July 15, 2000
THE MYLOTARG WORKED! SHE'S IN REMISSION!
We got the word from Dr. Kurtzberg last night that there were only 2-3% blasts in the bone marrow biopsy that was done on Thursday. Anything less than 5% is considered remission and it's also possible that the blasts they did find are premature normal cells, not leukemia cells.
We don't know yet if her bone marrow has returned to 90% donor, but hopefully we'll have the results by next Friday. If her bone marrow has returned to 90% donor she'll be given a second infusion of cord blood from the original donor to induce GVL (Graft vs. leukemia) to fight the leukemia. If this is successful she'll be able to avoid a second transplant.
If she hasn't returned to 90% donor she'll be given drugs to build up her immune system in hopes that the donor cells will take over. If that succeeds in getting her back to 90% donor, she will then be given the second infusion of cord blood. If we can't get her back to 90% donor we're probably looking at a second transplant.
Andrea wants to apologize for not keeping up with her email. She moved six times in the first ten days that she and Alex were in North Carolina and is just getting settled in. Andrea and Alex are now living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Durham with a pool! It's not home, but it's better than living in a hotel room or the hospital. You can reach them at:
1403 Snowcrest Trail
Durham, NC 27707
I finally got back to North Carolina yesterday after 2 1/2 weeks away. I drove from Snohomish to Portland then flew to Chicago. Once I got to Chicago I found out that all flights to Raleigh/Durham were canceled, so I looked on the board and saw a flight going to Greensboro NC that hadn't been canceled. I ran over to the terminal and managed to get on the flight, although it left almost 3 hours late. Andrea had to drive 65 miles to Greensboro to pick me up, so we didn't get back to the apartment until midnight, 16 hours after I left home in Washington! My luggage still hasn't arrived, although it's supposed to be here sometime tonight. I'm still trying to arrange a flight home, but I'll probably be here until July 24th.
Well we've finally decided to take a long overdue vacation. We rented a beach house on Bald Head Island with Andrea's parents for a week starting tomorrow. Alex is bouncing back strongly from the Mylotarg, so Dr. K. said it was okay. She even has platelets so we don't have to hold our breath every time she falls. We're really looking forward to this week, as we haven't had a vacation since the month before Alex was diagnosed - 21 months ago! It's going to be great to just relax for a whole week. Maybe my hair will stop turning gray for a few days!
Once again we want to thank everyone for their love, support and PRAYERS over the past 20 months. We especially want to thank the following people:
Dr. Kurtzberg - for her dedication and for being the best Doctor in the world! We don't know where we would be without her and everyone else at Duke. Now if we could just get her to move to Seattle! <grin>
Brad & Nancy Shelton - for opening up their home to us when we first got here, having Andrea and Alex over for dinner almost every night while I was gone, babysitting Alex for countless hours so Andrea could run errands, and helping them get settled into their new apartment.
Mariya (Alex's Best Buddy) - for being there whenever we need her.
Ingrid & Greg Parry - for providing much needed support even as they go through a cord blood transplant with their son Nate.
Rebecca Walters - for donating her air miles to Wendy (Andrea's sister), so she could come visit Andrea and Alex.
Jean Freund - for coming through with more free airline tickets for Andrea's parents.
Corinne & Dave Roberts - for their love and support even as Dave fights his own battle with leukemia.
Rod @ Bald Head Island Vacation Rentals - for making it possible for us to take a much needed vacation.
We will never be able to repay all the kindness that has been shown to us. Take care.
Todd, Andrea and Alex