Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Full circle

I discovered something yesterday.  While researching info on the bone marrow transplant, I came across a sentence in a hematology journal that discussed using initial chemo to reduce tumor bulk, and then consolidating the treatment with the transplant.  And I finally understood ... when Dr. Liu (way back in Westchester) had told us that the transplant was a given, he knew that the upfront chemo was not going to eliminate the disease.  We had asked at the time if the transplant was necessary, and he had  said, "oh, yes."  But then we were forced to leave Westchester and go to Albany.  At Albany, the protocol is -- transplant as second line therapy, only after relapse.  But they don't even have a transplant unit at Albany, and possibly don't have a culture around that treatment.  Dr. Liu and his partner Dr. Ahmed (the lymphoma-maniac) are very experienced hematologists.  I think they knew from the beginning that Andrew's lymphoma was so aggressive that the plan was always to use the frontline chemo to just reduce the bulky disease, and then they would go after it hard with the high-intensity chemo and transplant consolidation.  This doesn't change anything for us -- obviously, that's what we're scheduled for now.  But we might have been saved all of the grief over that last PET scan, had we understood that the transplant was always the endgame.

After we were moved to Albany, I always had a nagging worry about what Dr. Liu had said, because he was so adamant.  But when Albany said it was not part of their frontline approach, we really had no choice -- he needed to continue with treatment.  And we wanted to believe that it wasn't necessary.
Finding that little tidbit has actually made me feel a lot better -- like some unanswered questions had been put to rest -- that we're proceeding with the proper course of treatment, rather than trying to salvage some unexpected, dire situation.  You cling to the little things, I guess ...

1 comment:

  1. hey guys, just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know am thinking of you. Keep up the good humor per the last post. I look forward to getting together with you guys and sharing some laughs after you get through this. All the best, Dan.