Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day +84 - Biopsy results are good!

Just finished meeting with the docs today, and the results of last week's bone marrow biopsy are 100% normal. Whew! From the pathology report:
No abnormal myeloid blast, monocyte or maturing myeloid population identified. No immunophenotypic evidence of a myeloid stem cell disorder is identified.

This is the 2nd time my biopsy results have been short, sweet and AWESOME! The skin biopsy they did at the same time showed low-grade continuing acute GVHD of the skin, but the doctors aren't too worried about that. If I can taper completely off the Prednisone steroid and still only have low-grade GVHD, no further treatment would be needed. It would only be a problem if it flared up again. So far, so good.

After the clinic visit I stopped by for a pulmonary function test, where they lock you in a tiny, sealed room and have you do various breathing exercises. I did one of these just before the transplant, and the good news is that my lung capacity and pulmonary functions are all normal and unchanged from before. In fact, my lunch capacity is 118% of normal!

Other good news: I'll be stopping the Amlodipine and Prilosec medications today, and the Ursodiol medication in a few days. These drugs counteract the effects of the immunosuppressants which I'm slowly tapering down. For example, the Amlodipine is used to treat my artificially high blood pressure and the Prilosec helps with the acid-reflux that can happen due to all the nausea one experiences after a transplant. The Ursodiol has been used to protect my kidneys during all this, since the kidneys have been working overtime to process all the toxins going through my system. Each time I get to drop a medication, I feel like progress is being made, so this is great.

Last week's bone marrow biopsy went fine, though I started off the day with a migraine and little sleep. It didn't help that the blood draw that morning required me to fast, so I couldn't take any migraine medicine or drink coffee that morning. I brought my migraine medicine to the clinic and popped the pills as soon as the blood draw was over. 30 minutes later, the headache was gone, just in time for more suntan treatment, a visit to the snot guy, and then to be sedated for the bone marrow biopsy. The nurses were funny and my mom watched the procedure again. The room fills up pretty quickly with all the different technicans, nurses, and lab people, and you're hooked up to lots of equipment including oxygen in your nose, a blood pressure cuff, EKG monitors on your chest, and the IV lines feeding the sedative and pain killer drugs. So there are a lot of wires to be careful of. It can be a little intimidating at first. This was my 9th bone marrow biopsy, so it's pretty routine now. I remember a little more of the procedure this time since not as much sedative was used, so I remember chatting a little bit, some of the pain and awkwardness of the procedure, and being wheeled into the recovery room. Usually the last thing I remember is saying how well the sedative was making me feel (it really does make you feel good) and then "waking up" in the recovery room. I like that model better :) Though I usually end up bugging Johanna or my mom by asking the same questions over and over until the amnesiac effects of the sedative wear off. They say it's pretty funny to hear me when I'm like that.

This week I have more workup tests so that the doctors can make a recommendation for my long-term care. I should be discharged in the next week or two. Exciting!


Anonymous said...

Great news, Steve. We're very happy for you both!!!
Keep a smile on and keep rockin!
Uncle Leon and Aunt Sue

Farookh said...

that's just wonderful news!! so happy for you.

Anonymous said...

Congrats from the McLeans on all the good results!!!

George said...

That is awesome!! My LUNCH capacity is also probably around 150%. I eat too much at lunch. But it's my big meal. ;)

rachael said...

Whoo hoo! Fantastic news! Good luck with the drug tapering. Keep it up man!

SDATHFRHHC Nic said...

Awesome - love to hear it!

Simon said...

So glad to hear that things are looking good.

Good thing we're going for a buffet lunch on Friday, given your enhanced lunch capacity.

- S

Beth said...

Bingo's the lingo!
Good you let that thing go.

Excellent news -- deserved.
Jeff and Beth

Vanesa said...

This is great news! I am super happy to know you are doing so well.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! We are so happy for you!!

Dennis and Annette

Brian said...

That is so awesome! Go Steve!!!

obscurity said...

Holy cow! Good job, stem cells! You keep kickin.

Anonymous said...

Great news! So glad to hear how well you're doing.

Love from your cousins down south,
Becky and Nathan