Since being home he has continued to work on walking as much as possible. He still struggles on certain days with his balance and feeling strong but he takes it one day at a time. He has been eating since being home and was happy to say goodbye to the hospital food. Mom does her best to play nurse keeping him comfortable while being home. He sees a home health care nurse a couple times a week to care for his Hickman line where his chemo and blood draws are administered and taken. This past Monday, April 16th dad went back to RUSH for his third bone marrow biopsy. This was all part of the initial treatment plan. A follow up appointment was then scheduled for yesterday, Friday April 20th.
I was able to take the day off to drive up with mom and dad to get results from the biopsy with anticipation of hearing more about future treatment plans. We received the news from Dr. Larson yesterday that dad is officially in "remission"!!!! But if were only that easy. I think we were all very happy and excited to hear those words however, all along we knew there was going to be more treatments ahead. The other news that we received yesterday is that his blood counts (white, Hbc, platelets, potassium, etc....) were all normal or heading in that direction which was also great news! One of the most important measurements is his AnC level which fights off infection in our bodies and this also was nearing normal levels. This meant, unless being out in a public place, dad could be less strict about wearing a medical mask. He was super excited about this!
Well dad still has a LONG road ahead but we now have what I will call phase II of the treatment plan. Although in remission, Leukemia cells can "hide" in your blood stream even after chemotherapy. With that being said dad will begin a consolidation chemo plan. This will include undergoing 4 high dose chemo cycles. Each cycle will last a week and will require him to stay at RUSH during this time. He will spend one week in the hospital and then come home for 3-4 weeks and repeat the cycle 3 more times. Also, he will begin to take a chemo pill called rydapt a newer form of leukemia treatment that was approved within the past year by the FDA. Dr. Larson said that they have had some really good success with this treatment. It was very exciting for the professionals in her field to find this was approved by the FDA. Without getting too granular the AML mutations they tested did test positive for 2 different forms of AML. One with low risk of recurrence and one with a high risk of recurrence. Dr. Larson said these two sort of balance each other out making dad's chances intermediate. Although that was disappointing to hear Dr. Larson said she was very happy with his response to chemo the first time around and expected no different with the consolidation chemo.
A lot to take in yesterday for both mom and dad! There's plenty of other scenarios we could get into but don't really think it is necessary at this time. Right now we continue down the path of recovery. Dad continues to fight! All the thoughts, prayers, cards and calls are very much appreciated. It helps even if we don't sometimes let everyone know. So on behalf of all of us thank you! I will try to keep you updated as things progress but as of now dad has another week to get stronger and then Monday April 30th it's back to RUSH for round 2.