30 April 2014

6 month report

Every time this package comes I get sad. My Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary chemotherapy pills arrived again this week.
My Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary medicine.
I need to get used to it. I'll probably be taking them for the rest of my life. 
There are some clinical trials right now where CML patients who are doing amazing are being taken off their meds. It will be exciting to see what happens for them. Will the cancer come back? Will it mutate?  We don't know yet. 
What we do know is Tasigna, my Super Dangerous but Absolutely Necessary chemotherapy pills, WORKS. 
I got my 6-month labs back.

When I was diagnosed in October,  labs were drawn every week. My oncologist checked my counts - white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc.
My counts reached normal values (values for people without leukemia) within 3 months. Great results. My medicine was working. And even though I didn't feel normal, my lab results said I was on my way.
Tasigna works by searching for a protein in my blood (a protein created by the blood cancer) and zaps it. Well, it's WAY more complicated than that. But that's how I can wrap my brain around how it works.
The American Cancer Society has a good scientific explanation of how Tasigna works.
At diagnosis, my oncologist measured how much of the BCR-ABL fusion gene is in my blood. It's measured again at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, so on. The goal, my doctor said, was to reach a BCR-ABL value of 0.073 at the 1-year mark.
I'm at the 6-month mark and I'm already at 0.022.
I can't believe it!
Actually, I didn't believe it. I called my doctor's office to get it confirmed.
Boom! Just call me The Giant Slayer.
Everyone has giants they are fighting. Leukemia is but one of the giants I face. My pastor, Stu Hodges, at Waters Edge Church said Sunday we already have everything we need to fight the battle and win the war.
Focus on God, not the giants.
Max Lucado says it like this:
Focus on giants - you stumble.
Focus on God - your giants tumble. 
For now, I continue taking Tasigna, managing side effects, praising God and slaying giants.


  1. My dear husband was diagnosed 13 years ago with CML. Today, he is in remission thanks to oral chemotherapy, currently Tasigna. We take our blessings where we can, and Tasigna is one of our biggest blessings ever. <3

    1. 13 years! Wow! Congratulations!
      Yes, Tasigna is one of the biggest blessings ever.
      How long has he been taking Tasigna?

  2. Patti, I am thrilled to tears at the success of your treatment. I hope the "feeling better" part matches the numbers sooner than later. I love you sis.