Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Finally a Drop in My PCR!

It has been a tough year, in so many ways. The most frustrating aspect being my bouncing PCR. Since my bout of bronchitis and  suspected pneumonia last September, my pcr results (the test that measures  leukemic burden on my body) have been anything but stable!

They have bounced from the perfect score of 0% as high as .463, which to any one that lives with CML (chronic mylogenous leukemia) knows is not only frustrating, but scary, too!

This increase was no doubt from the Sprycel break that I had to take because of the pleural effusion, bronchitis and pneumonia. Pleural Effusion is a side effect from my life-saving drug and tends to haunt me about once a year; this condition is a build-up of fluid in the sac around my lungs.

My oncologist prefers a Sprycel vacation vs draining the fluid, which he and I believe, puts me at risk of infection, not to mention the pain from the procedure. This protocol has always worked for me, although at times, the break in treatment causes a spike in my PCR.

So, during this past year, we have been trying to find the golden ticket; the perfect combination of "how much" Sprycel to injest, in order to achieve a favorable PCR, without developing pleural effusion.

Our latest attempt consisted of taking 140 mg of Sprycel five days a week. This regimen did bring my PCR down from .463 to .169, but while this is still a "good" response, I know that the "best" scenario for longevity is below 1 %. Soooooooo, I wanted a .0 something number in the worst way! I was 0%, negative PCR twice before and I want it again. lol

After discussing my wishes, we decided to up the dosage to 140 mg, six days a week and see what happens. And much to my delight, after 5 weeks on this treatment plan, I DID acheive a .0 number! .074 to be exact and despite the fact that I have a small PE brewing in my left lung, I am thrilled!

I wish like crazy that this dose would not cause a pleural effusion, and I am not certain how bad it will get, or how quickliy, but the current plan is to suck it up, remain on 140 mg, six days a week until my next PCR, the beginning of January.

Please say a small prayer for me; to keep the effusion to a minimum and to continue to lower my PCR. It is going to be an interesting three months, but for now, at this very moment, I am a very happy camper!

Persistence and diligence can pay off.

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