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.

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!


  1. Wow, Lizzie! We're so happy to hear that Andrew's doing so well. Glad you've had the summer you didn't get to have last year! We miss seeing all of you, but we're so thrilled we are all not spending months in the hospital this year!

  2. Hooray! I'm glad things are going well - i can't believe he's walking! Glad to hear happy updates like this.

  3. Thanks so much for the beautiful post! Could you send me a larger version of the picture? It is so delightful!

  4. So glad he is doing good:-) I always love to hear...I guess it just keeps me positive and hopeful!!! He is so cute with his hair:-)