Saturday, January 14, 2012

Random Facts About Leukemia

  • They do not give blood cancers, like leukemia, stages as they do for tumorous cancers.  They do, however, look for leukemic cells in the spinal fluid as an indicator of where it's at.  Spencer's results were mixed in that they did find some leukemic cells in the spinal column, but they weren't fully developed yet.  He will receive a few rounds of chemo injected directly into his spinal column in addition to the other chemotherapy, to try to zap what's in his spinal fluid.
  • The color for leukemia awareness is orange.  The students at Spencer's school, in two days' time pulled together these ribbons for everyone to wear to a pep rally.  (The pep rally was for something else, but they wore these as a way to show school-wide support for Spencer). You rock Jaguars!!!!

  • If chemo is not effective, then the next course of treatment is a bone marrow transplant. Glen, me, and Spencer's four siblings will get our blood tested for compatibility on Tuesday.   An in-family bone marrow transplant has a much higher rate of success than when from a non-related donor.  We're praying for one of us to be a match. 
  • There are several subtypes of AML (acute myeloid leukemia), each with differing prognoses.  Spencer has the M5 subtype (monocytic). 
  • In the hospital they call us Pediatric Hem-Onc patients.  (pronounced heem - awnk)  It's short for hematology/oncology. 
A couple other random tidbits:

  • Friends of ours had a son with a brain tumor and upon coming to visit us she realized that we are in the exact same room as her son had been four years ago.   It helped us to feel connected and it was nice to talk to someone else who knew some of what we're going through.
  • For as prickly as Spencer sometimes got when I asked him to take out the trash before all this, he has been an absolute trouper, never once complaining about all the poking and prodding that he's going through.  I'm also impressed with how he is invariably kind and polite to all the nurses and even makes an effort to call them by name.  We have noticed that he is extra nice to one particular nurse who also happens to be young and cute.  :) 
  • I had a completely average conversation with someone yesterday and for a few minutes I felt almost normal again! 


bantcher said...

Attaboy Spencer! Lara, thanks for doing these posts, which keep us informed and connected to our favorite, and the world's best, Pediatric Hem-Onc patient!


Holly said...

Laura, our thought and prayers are with your family.

SnoWhite said...

Thanks for sharing what you're learning, Lara. Praying for continued strength and good spirits!

Julie said...

Wow. Lara, I am so sorry to hear about what your family is going through right now. We will be anxiously watching for updates, and we are praying for you!

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