As most of you know Gene has been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. AML is one of the more common blood cancers that are treated.
Monday, November 7th – He had a doctor appointment because he was not feeling well. They took blood for testing but thought it was only a virus. That night we received a call from the Doctor letting him know his white blood cell counts were high and they wanted him to go on Tuesday and have more blood taken.
Tuesday, November 8th - early evening the Dr. called and said a normal white blood cell count should be around 10,000, however, Monday’s test showed that it was at 60,000 and Tuesdays test was 102,000 and showed leukemia cells. The doctor called a ematology/oncologist that he knew to try to get an appointment for Wednesday. The Hematologist said his white count was too high andincreasing so rapidly that he needed to go to the emergency room at Saint Louis University Hospital immediately.
In the emergency room that evening, more blood test showed that his count was up to 143,000. In order to bring the white blood cell count down, they would have to do Leukapheresis, which means a catheter is placed into the neck and blood is pumped through a machine, cleansing the cells and returning the blood back through the catheter. After this procedure, the white blood cell count had dropped to 43,000.
Wednesday, November 9th – Still in the ICU at SLU Hospital, a bone marrow biopsy was taken to determine the type of Leukemia. They decided, because his count was low enough, they would wait for the biopsy results to determine the type of chemo he would receive. In the meantime, family members were discussing Gene’s diagnosis with several people who work at Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Siteman Cancer Center and inquiring about transferring him to Siteman Cancer Center.
Friday, November 10th – Gene was transferred to the Siteman Center. Another round of similar testing was completed at Barnes. Another bone marrow biopsy and several other blood tests. Chemo treatments were delayed until results from the latest test returned.
Over the weekend 11-12th - He was running a fever throughout the weekend and felt weak. He was given platelets because the blood tests showed a low red blood cell count. This caused his fever to spike to 103, which was determined to be an allergic reaction. He then had to be given hydrocortisone and wait a half hour before they could continue. After four bags plus two pints of blood, it was a success without another fever spike.
Monday, November 14th – He had a procedure to place another catheter into his chest. The docs were hoping they could start chemo, using this new catheter. However, they did not have the results fom Friday’s test so he would have to wait.
Tuesday, November 15th – The doctor at BJC/Siteman confirmed it was AML and that they will start treatments that evening. There will be two types of chemo, one will be injected into the catheter for three days and the other is a continuous drip for one week.
The doctor said that we should expect normal chemo side effects during this with even more the week after. The blood counts will drop after chemo and he will need blood and platelet transfusions. They will do another bone marrow biopsy two weeks after to see if there has been any response. He will be in the hospital for one month throughout these treatments. We won’t know if he will need a bone marrow transplant until after these chemo treatments.
Gene cannot receive any flowers or plants (doctor’s orders) but cards are welcomed.
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. We will add updates to this site.