I had some errands to run downtown this afternoon. I finished them early and therefore also arrived quite early for my appointment with Dr. Tan. They said they’d try to work me in. They did and I was home before my scheduled appointment time.
Dr. Tan said that I have achieved “cytogenetic remission.” That means that my test revealed no active cancer cells!! That’s the good news, and very good news it is!! However, the genetic ally messed up cells which produce the cancer cells are still alive and well, as they apparently always will be. In practical terms, cytogenetic remission means that Gleevec has successfully killed off the cancer cells to the point that it can kill them off as fast as they are produced. Dr. Tan said the prognosis is better for those who reach cytogenetic remission within a year instead of the year-and-a-half it took me. Nevertheless, life expectancy for those who reach cytogenetic remission is twice that of those who don’t. Current life expectancy for those people is “six to seven years and getting better.”
The plan is for me to continue taking Gleevec until it doesn’t work any longer. I will get my blood checked every six months or so. Dr. Tan said that when Gleevec stops working he will switch me to one of two other new leukemic drugs. In the meantime, I’m to continue to also take the ancillary drugs which help me with my stomach. Although Dr. Tan wanted me off of them at one time, he’d rather me stay on them and be able to tolerate Gleevec, than him have to switch me to the new drugs this early in the battle.
Oh yes, my anemia is about the same and my spleen continues to shrink. Without a CT scan to confirm it, Dr. Tan thinks my spleen has gone back down to its normal size.
And so, this is great news. Of course I wish it was even better, but I have no complaints. We thank you for your prayers and many kindnesses.