Andrew was diagnosed with Erythroid (M6) Acute Myeloid Leukemia on November 4th, 2010 when he was almost 5 months old. Andrew is currently in remission from his cancer, after finishing his 5 rounds of chemotherapy. He is a healthy, happy toddler.

Monday, September 26, 2011

4-month CBC

And the numbers are:

Hematocrit: 35.3
Platelets: 235
White Blood Count: 9.4
ANC: 5500

I'm almost positive that I'll see signs of his relapse before it shows in his blood, but it still wigs me out every time. His ANC is probably a little high because he's had a minor GI bug these last couple of days that neither I nor the oncologist is very concerned about.

We've been outside all day every day (except for this last week that they put down fertilizer) and have just been loving the outdoors. Aubree and Mikhail (Andrew's two other cancer buddies) came to visit a couple of weeks ago just for a get together. Unfortunately, Aubree got her thumb caught in my bathroom door jamb and almost took it off, so they went to the emergency room :(. Poor girl has gone through so much in that short life of hers. I think when Stew and I have little kids around, we're always going to want to be within 10 minutes of a hospital for reasons like that.

I was hoping to get pictures of the three of them, but since Aubree had to go to the hospital, I only got ones of Andrew and Mikhail:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

3-Month CBC/differential

We went to see the oncologist on Thursday, and the numbers are:

Hematocrit: 39.3 (normal 33-39)
Platelets: 326 (normal 150-400)
White Count: 7 (normal 5-17)
ANC: 2300 (normal 1500-8000)

No blasts! Yay! Each month that he stays in remission decreases the chance that he'll relapse. His relapse chances will drop precipitously after the one year post-treatment mark (next June), and will drop significantly again at the 18-month post-treatment mark (December 2012). I always get a bit nervous a couple of days before the blood draw, and our oncologist tells us that even people years off of treatment where the cancer almost certainly won't come back often get jittery the day before the draw. I guess I'm not alone, then. This is one little graph we've been going by ever since he got diagnosed. This is mortality for AMLs <20 years and the x axis is years since diagnosis.

It's always funny because when we mention numbers, oncologists will always tell us that numbers are better now because of the time lag for improvements in treatment and how long it takes to compile years worth of data. He'll have to redo all of his vaccinations because they assume his adaptive immune memory has been wiped. His ECHO that will hopefully not show heart damage is scheduled for next June. I'm hoping he'll develop the maturity required to sit still so we won't have to sedate him. We tried it once without sedation and he lasted about 30 seconds.

Also, September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. It's amazing how far they've come with treatment with overall mortality at around 20%, but the incidence of childhood cancers per capita is increasing every year and AML mortality hovers around 50%. All of the chemotherapeutics used in the standard treatment protocol for AML were discovered before 1980, and most were discovered before 1970. That's kind of pathetic. Oncologists over the years have been able to tweak dosages and combinations for optimal effect, but AML mortality hasn't really improved much for 20 years. With such a small piece of the funding pie (childhood cancer gets 3% of all cancer funding) and the suffocating regulation from the FDA, it's no wonder we're not progressing very fast.

I'm so grateful, though, that the standard treatment protocol worked for Andrew and that he didn't have to have a bone marrow transplant. Not having to deal with the side effects of a transplant has made recovery so much quicker and we've been able to have such a fun summer. As of 2 weeks ago, Andrew doesn't have to take his anti-pneumonia med (Septra), so he is off all his medications!!! Yaay! I'm having more and more fun with Andrew. He's gotten tons of hair and has been walking now for almost a month!