Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My 4 1/2 month checkup on Gleevec

Just a quick update, I had my 4 1/2 month checkup. This is just a routine checkup, to make sure the blood work shows that things are going ok. Good news is that I'm still in Hematological remission, with a WBC of 5k. This was slightly up from last months of 4.2k, but totally normal. We don't need to worry until it approaching 10K and above, so we're looking to see it stabilize somewhere between 3-7k (most Gleevec patients run on the lower side of the normal range of 4-11k.
The next appointment will be June 1st, which will be the always fun BMA. Those results won't be available until 7-10 days after that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The black Koi

A few years ago at our old house, Cynthia brought up the idea that gee, wouldn't it be nice to have a water feature in the back yard. In hindsight, I think she was talking about some type of fountain, with running water. Well, one thing led to another, and we decide to build bigger, and even add fish. Neither of us had much experience with keeping goldfish or Koi, but what the heck, can't be that hard, can it ?
Well, to make a long story short, we have since enlarged the original pond, then we built a new pond at the new house since we had to move the fish with us. We went from an original 300 gallon pond, to the current size of 4800 gallon, 3 pumps, 3 filters, 2 UV lights, 2 streams/waterfalls, and a bridge across it. We placed all 24,000 pounds of rock by hand (used a special mortar this time that is fish safe since we didn't want the risk of kids falling). But, I regress...
In this pond, we added a black Koi last summer. Having a black Koi is supposed to be good luck, and you can't have enough luck these days. Needless to say, we quickly realized that he didn't exactly stick out swimming next to his cousins, with their bright orange, red, and yellow patterns. In fact, after we got him, we stopped seeing him. And that is unusual, since although the pond is 3 1/2 feet at its deepest, we maintain clear water so you can see to the bottom.
Unfortunately, we've also been battling a Blue Heron for more than a year. We did lose a few fish to the bird, and if it wasn't for the fact that the bird is protected, he'd be stuffed in our living room right now. I know our neighbors won't turn us in if the bird has an 'accident' in our back yard, but it's just too darn hard to hit him with the car or the mower....I've even considered installing electrical wire across the pond hoping he will strangle himself since I've read that the number one killer of Heron is electrical wires...I believe I can make it look like a suicide.
So, what does this have to do with Leukemia and CML? Well, the black fish had been missing for 6-8 months now. We see Hoover of course (Since he's white and about 18 inches), and most of the smaller fish, but we had pretty much written the black one off as Heron food. But then just this past weekend, the black one was not only spotted, he was swimming around with everyone else, like he's never been gone.
I'm still trying to figure out how he avoided being spotted all this time ? My only guess is that he's been hiding under the stones we built as shelter/hiding places for them. But he's there, and doing quite well....I guess I realize CML is kind of like that too, you may be doing well on Gleevec and showing no signs, but it's always there, just out of sight. When you're doing well, you can almost forget that you have CML. I've tried to see if there are days that I don't think about it, but it always come back to that taking the 1 pill a day is my reminder. Since my dr. appointments are so far apart now (6 weeks seems a lifetime after going weekly), I don't have many outside reminders of my condition. And I truly believe that if it wasn't for the pill, I probably could go a day and not thing about it. Just as our black koi, he's out of sight, but there somewhere lurking.
I never thought 3 months after dx that I could feel that way. I'm under no illusion that this is it, there are some major milestones coming up in the next couple of years, but I have been able to start looking forward again, and not let CML be consuming me. And I haven't had any major life urges, like driving to Puerto Vallarta or joining a country band...but we'll see, there is always time....