Going through this arduous process, I have come to a simple and strangely satisfying resolve in regards to Leukemia. Becoming Positive and proactive not Negative and reactive.
Now becoming negative and reactive is relatively simple. Freak the hell out at any bit of news from any doctor, nurse, floor attendant or even hospital janitor! Then act as though the world is coming to an end! Happens all the time! I am not being callous it really does, it is human nature. Seriously though most janitors have been there so long they would probably qualify at least to the ER tech level! (This is humor any ER techs don’t get butt hurt). There is also a positive-reactive which centers on acting quickly and decisively, a wonderful quality I may add.
Positive and Proactive is a learned skill; thinking calmly, forming a plan, and handling adversity with a determined end result in mind! But becoming proactive takes a little more finesse, a tad bit of dulled nerves as to not jump at the slightest verbal or non verbal queue given by any one person wearing a lab coat, a great sense of humor and a good pocket pint of whiskey stored inside your jacket! (Heather R, you devil child that was for you)
First time around when we heard the word Leukemia; well actually it sounded more like
L E U K E M I A… (slow motion, deep sounding with scary movie music overtones).
I freaked, we freaked, and our friends and families freaked with us! We were all reactive on both levels stated above, and justifiably so! Positive and Negative reactive. Leukemia is a word, a name, a label that incites visions of wheel chairs, frail wasted away human beings and of course losing our cherished loved ones to death. What it doesn’t sound like is success and why should it? Leukemia is a nasty form of cancer that automatically shuts our brains down to logic out of self-preservation! The word just screams fear and that is too bad really, because if we stand back and educate ourselves we learn important facts such as, according to the Honor Society of Nursing, success rates over time have been on the rise.
“Leukemia is a serious illness that is in the top ten of cancer-related deaths in the United States. It is worth noting that successful treatment rates have increased four-fold since the 1960s. At the beginning of that decade, only 14 percent of people survived for five years after diagnosis. By 2005, that percentage had increased to 54 percent. Nevertheless, in 2009 leukemia claimed the lives of over 21,000 people, with the highest number of deaths among males with chronic lymphoblastic leukemia.”
Now I know that doesn’t look like a positive or particularly sunny report, but really it is great news! From 14 percent to 54 percent is superb!
SEER or Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program of the National Cancer Institute has a more up to date statistic. From 2004-2010 57.2 percent of those who contracted Leukemia lived longer than 5 years from time of remission! OUTSTANDING!
According to the statistics a majority of patients who don’t survive are male in conjunction with the numbers being skewed with children under 15 and elderly adults 60+. As you can see even though these numbers constitute the passing or loss of loved ones to this terrible form of cancer the numbers in regards to our specific case just keep getting better! Positive thinking so let’s form a plan!
Now remember from earlier stories there are 4 main types of Leukemia
AML–Acute Myeloid Leukemia
ALL–Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
CLL–Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CML–Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
Jacy has AML
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, acute myeloblastic leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia is a fast-growing form of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
AML is the most common type of acute leukemia. It occurs when the bone marrow begins to make blasts, cells that have not yet completely matured. These blasts normally develop into white blood cells. However, in AML, these cells do not develop and are unable to ward off infections.
In AML, the bone marrow may also make abnormal red blood cells and platelets. The number of these abnormal cells increases rapidly, and the abnormal (leukemia) cells begin to crowd out the normal white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets that the body needs.
One of the main things that differentiate AML from the other main forms of leukemia is that it has eight different subtypes, which are based on the cell that the leukemia developed from. The types of acute myelogenous leukemia include:
• Myeloblastic (M0) – on special analysis
• Myeloblastic (M1) – without maturation
• Myeloblastic (M2) – with maturation
• Promyeloctic (M3)
• Myelomonocytic (M4)
• Monocytic (M5)
• Erythroleukemia (M6)
• Megakaryocytic (M7)
Acute myeloid leukemia treatment options
Treatment for AML may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant and/or immunotherapy. Your integrated team of leukemia experts will answer your questions and recommend treatment options based on your unique diagnosis and needs.
A common chemotherapy treatment for AML begins with induction chemotherapy, in which a combination of drugs is used to destroy as many leukemia cells as possible and bring blood counts to normal. This is followed by consolidation chemotherapy, to destroy any remaining leukemia cells that cannot be seen in the blood or bone marrow.
If cells continue to survive or regenerate within the blood stream another round of consolidation therapy is repeated leading to the possibility of a Bone Marrow Transplant.
This is where we are with Jacy. She will be receiving a Bone Marrow Transplant.
I will cover the Bone Marrow Transplant in depth after our meeting with the BMTT (Bone Marrow Transplant Team) on Monday.
Jacy’s doctor continues to remind us most statistics are up to 4 years old and Leukemia success rates are skyrocketing! She also reminds us not to overly scour the internet as all the news reads grim and can become overwhelming.
I hope this information has helped anyone who has been curious to our plight. When you see my postings or run into me in person and are wondering how I am doing, just know this. Yes I am tired, very tired. Taking care of my wife is an honor; I love her more than anything in the world and will move mountains to insure she is cured from this disease. Adding to all my regular duties and hers as well is beginning to take a toll. But I am positive, we are very positive, my spirits are high, I cannot allow myself to become reactive and negative. If there is anybody in this whole wide world who can single-handedly kick cancers ass it is my wife! If you have met my wife then you know all of this to be true.
So we move forward together as we should through life; Positive, Proactive, with nothing but success and the future of this family on our minds.