Thursday, January 24, 2008

Does He Look Pale to You?

I think Tyler is starting to look a little bit pale with all of the blood he's been giving over the past two months... What do you think? (Just kidding!!)

He went for another blood test yesterday and all of his major counts went down. I must admit... I am confused with what is happening to his counts and nervous that he will drop into the danger zones on some of them. For those of you following the numbers, Platelets were at 108, White Blood Cells were at 2.5, Red Blood Cell (actually his Hematocrit) were at 26.5. The doctor lowered Tyler's Sprycel dose to 90mg per day (from 110mg) with yesterday's test counts. We'll see how his blood looks with that change at our doctor's appointment next Wednesday.

On the upside, he did start back to work on Friday 1/18 and has been working part time since then. I think he is enjoying getting back into work, although he is a little bit stiff after such a long break from activity.

We are headed to Wenatchee for the weekend to celebrate my cousin's wedding. I look forward to seeing as many family members as are able to travel to Wenatchee with the cold winter weather. We are so excited to share in Bryan and Heidi's celebration.

See you there!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Understanding the CBC Results

For those of you who are as new to blood counts as us, I found an article that explains some of the common things we are looking at when the doctor (any doctor) orders a complete blood count (CBC).

Normal Lab Values for Complete Blood Count:

Red Blood Cells -- The primary function of the red blood cells, or erythrocytes, is to carry oxygen from the lungs to body tissues and to transfer carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs

  • Hematocrit (HCT): The percentage of the blood made up of red blood cells.— male 42% — 52%

White blood cells — the cells that help the body fight infections and disease — are measured in terms of their number per a specific volume. The five specific types of white blood cells that follow are measured as a percentage of all leukocytes (white blood cells) - 5,000 — 10,000/mm3:

  • Neutrophils 55% — 70% First line of cellular defense against bacterial infection
  • Lymphocytes 20% — 40% B cells, which create antibodies against foreign invaders, such as infections and tumor cells, and T cells, which attack the same foreign invaders
  • Monocytes 2% — 8% Ingest foreign material, such as bacteria and fungi
  • Eosinophils 1% — 4% Destroy parasites and play a major role in allergic reactions
  • Basophils 0.5% — 1% Play a major role in inflammation.

Platelets -- 150,000 — 400,000/mm3 Cells that help stop bleeding by binding to the site of a wound.

Friday, January 18, 2008

He's 2/3 Normal

Tyler had another blood draw and doctors appointment on Wednesday, January 16th. With great pleasure, we can share that Tyler is now 2/3 normal! His White Blood Cells remained in the normal range, his red blood cells climbed a little bit, and his platelets got back into normal range (151). Normal range for platelets is 150-400, so he's kind of pushing the "normal" designation, but we take what we can.

He also was granted the work release we have been hoping for. He's only supposed to go in part time and stick with light duty stuff, but it's a definite step in the right direction! Today was his first day of work, so I am curious to hear how it went.

We were also supposed to get our final piece of new furniture delivered and I am excited to see how fantastic our room looks with the new bedroom furniture. (Thanks to the Keiths for helping us to be grownups!) The stuff we've already gotten looks fantastic, but we still felt like we were in a state of transition. With today's armoire, we should be able to finish moving things around.

Thanks for the prayers and kind inquiries!


Friday, January 11, 2008

And He's Climbing

Tyler went in to the doctor for a blood draw on Wednesday this week to find that his platelet count had climbed into the 90s. Whoo hoo!!! Unfortunately, his red blood cell (RBC) and white blood cell (WBC) counts had fallen a bit, prompting the doctor to modify Tyler's dosage schedule for the Sprycel. He's dropped from 70mg twice a day to 110mg once a day. Hopefully he continues to experience the same great results in his platelet counts and also gets some consistency in his RBC and WBC.

He's still off from work and bummed about that, but he is keeping plenty busy around the house for now. Today he is off car shopping, so that we can replace the mini and have a car in place by the time Tyler starts working again.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

All Good Streaks Come to an End

I must admit that I failed miserably at predicting Tyler's blood counts on Wednesday, January 2nd. I predicted a platelet count of 54 (would you say I am optimistic?), when in reality it was a solid 36. Red blood cells dropped to 28.1 from 30.7 on the previous visit.

We finally got to meet with our regular doctor, which was a treat after two weeks of substitute doctors and nurses. We brought up some questions we had about stem cell transplants, including the timing of when Tyler might expect to have one. Much to our surprise, Dr. M said that he actually is against transplants for most cases because the majority of the risk in a transplant is at the front end. Complications during surgery, the possibility of rejecting the transplanted cells, etc. all occur within the first few months if you are getting a transplant.

Our other possible path is to stay with the Sprycel, assuming Tyler continues to respond well to it, for an indefinite period of time. Dr. M suggests that we do the initial work for the transplant, so that we can move on that quickly if needed. The matching process will probably be the most time consuming part of the preparation, so they would need to determine if Gump is a match for Tyler long before the surgery might actually be needed.

Tyler has a blood test only next week, and then we meet with Dr. M again on January 16th. It's nice to have the freedom from daily doctor visits, although Tyler is still unable to work. Hopefully his blood counts on the 16th will have improved enough for him to go back to work. He's close on being able to work now, but the doctor is playing it safe since both red blood cells and platelets are still in a low range. Once Tyler gets his platelet count back up to 150, he might get to play soccer again. So now you know what our real goal is... We'll do anything to get back on the field!

I have been starting to read more about nutrition so that we can plan our diet to be supportive of Tyler's therapy. So much of what I have seen in other research supports the idea of a whole foods diet. I guess I might need to start shopping at Whole Foods now! ;) With luck, we will only need small changes to see improvements in our health.

Thanks for the prayers for health in 2008! I'm hoping that he continues to respond well to the Sprycel and that the clinical trials in process go well, so that more and more effective medicines are released soon.

Happy New Year from both of us!