I would just like to preface this post by saying that my tests from this week came back GOOD!
On Tuesday, I had my 16th bone marrow biopsy. At this point, I have it down. Yet, the waiting is never any easier. It is quite the process of events between when my biopsy is done and when I receive my results.
I was able to have my biopsy done locally in Little Rock. As soon as the sample was taken from my hip, it was immediately shipped. Nashville, TN and Seattle both get samples to test.
The transit time is only the first step.
Because of geographic locations, Nashville gets their sample first.
They are testing for my engraftment levels. The goal is for my chimerism to be 100% donor. This is important, because my donor’s cells are what keeps leukemia away long term. If my marrow does not indicate that it is 100% donor, that likely signifies some stage of relapse.
This first test came back good- 100% DONOR! I received an email from my transplant nurse practitioner at 7:58 am this morning.
The second test results come from Seattle. These are the ones that I am most concerned with. The fancy term is MRD (minimal residual disease). Essentially, this is the test that determines if there are any leukemia cells at all.
The words that I look for are “MRD negative.”
After some confusing phone calls with one of my nurses, my nurse practitioner called at 1:06 pm this afternoon to let me know that my marrow was MRD negative and there was no leukemia determined in the marrow sample.
This is what determines my treatment plan, but also determines if I am able to continue living my life until the next test.
While both aspects of this test are important, MRD negative is most important to me, because that means I either have leukemia, or don’t.
There was approximately 72 hours between when I woke up from my biopsy and when I received the final results. While I do this every few months, it only gets more challenging to wait.
The good news is, the further I distance myself in time from having cancer, the better my prognosis and the less likely I am to relapse. I am far from being in the clear, but for now, I am good.
While the main goal is my health, we also heavily consider quality of life. I think I have optimized these goals in the best way possible, because I am blessed enough that my body continues to tolerate treatment AND I am still able to have an amazing quality of life.
So, for now, I will keep doing what I am doing: chemo, DLI, medical tests, and living a normal life in between, but most importantly, celebrating every day.
Thanks for following me on this wild ride called life.
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