Monday, September 02, 2013

Bone Marrow Test Results: A Biology Lesson

Borage and Salvia in the herb garden
I didn't mention that FL received a phone call on Friday, requesting his presence at the hospital on Monday morning for his bone marrow test results.
We knew that it must be serious because he already had an appointment  in the diary for next week.
But we weren't expecting to hear that he now has acute leukemia.

A quick biology lesson:
In your bone marrow, you have stem cells.  These are the parents of 4 other types of cell:  red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells.
Leukemia is a cancer of the stem cells.
In acute leukemia, the cancerous stem cells mutate and multiply, crowding out the good guys.
Think "zombie apocalypse".
The more bad guys there are,  the harder it is to zap them with chemo without killing the good guys too, and there might not be enough good guys left to carry on making the cells you need to stay alive:  red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma.

Back to our patient:

In FL's case, myeloma, previous chemotherapy and (sorry darling!) old age have all conspired to leave him with, to quote the doctor: "a scruffy mess of cells".
As a result, it is difficult to get a good enough bone marrow sample to assess the percentage of bad guys in his stem cells.  They had another try today.  Yes, another bone marrow test!
On Thursday, he is having a blood transfusion to give him a top-up of red blood cells.  If the bad guys keep multiplying, he will need transfusions at regular intervals, because otherwise his body will stop functioning.
Until they know what percentage and type of bad guys they are dealing with, they can't consider any treatment.  And the doctor was very forthright:  there is no cure.
There are three things they can do:  watch it, give top-up transfusions as required, zap it with chemo.  But FL's bone marrow is already shot to pieces.  Realistically, chemo would probably kill him faster than the leukemia itself. 
So we watch and we wait.
How long?
We didn't ask the question.




52 comments:

annabelvita said...

I am so, so sorry. I hope that the news from today's bone marrow test is as good as possible and that the transfusions help him feel a bit bette.

Sending lots of love xx

annabelvita said...

I am so, so sorry. I hope that the news from today's bone marrow test is as good as possible and that the transfusions help him feel a bit bette.

Sending lots of love xx

Sew little time said...

so sorry you are facing even more tough times. hope the results are as good as you can expect. thinking of you both. xxx

northernknitter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

A heartfelt 'so sorry to learn this' from me too. I've been thinking of you both often - problems (my incompetence I'm sure) with commenting have prevented me from saying so more often of late. So if I'm quiet I'm still feeling for you and sending positive thoughts.

Sarah said...

A heartfelt 'so sorry to learn this' from me too. I've been thinking of you both often - problems (my incompetence I'm sure) with commenting have prevented me from saying so more often of late. So if I'm quiet I'm still feeling for you and sending positive thoughts. Sarahel

Stevie said...

Sending you all love and positive energy Roo. I'm so sorry, I also hope that FL's transfusions help him feel a little brighter, x

Jodie said...

Oh that just sucks! You both are in my thoughts and prayers. Remember to take care of yourself, Roo and best to FL. Hope the transfusion helps him feel better.

Roisin Muldoon said...

I'm so sorry, Roo. You're all in my thoughts xxx

Maeve said...

Thinking about you Roo. So sorry about all this. Good luck with the tests.

House of Pinheiro said...

So sorry darling

sewingslowly said...

Oh Roo. "So sorry" feels so clich├ęd, but it is said with love by all of us and I wish I wish I wish that there was something more that we could say that would change this.

I have no idea whether you are religious or not, so I hope that you will not take offence when I call upon a Quaker saying and tell you that I am holding you and FL in the Light.

Joan said...

Me too. xx

KC said...

I am very sorry about your sad news. Take care of yourself while you care for FL, Roo.

quiltercaroline said...

I am a relatively new comer to your blog but I wanted to say how much your posts have touched me. I am sincerely hoping that the tests and transfusions have the most positive outcome as they can. Thinking of you both C x

Jane said...

Oh what a bugger, I'm so very sorry. Sending you lots of love. xx

Jennifer Churchill said...

So sorry on the bad news. I hope the blood transfusions help FL feel better. Take care.

Marie said...

I can't tell you how sorry I am to hear this...thinking of you and FL!xxx

Janey Missymoo said...

I am sad and sorry to hear this Roo. Thinking of you both, big hugs xx

Jenni said...

Thinking of you both x

velosewer said...

I hope FL is not in pain and the transfusion help. Thinking of you both xx

ravelledsleeve said...

Oh Roo, I'm so sorry. Sending much love to both of you and wishing you strength and as much serenity as you can cling to in the coming weeks and months xxx

Susan said...

So sorry to hear your sad news. I have you both in my thoughts. x

Emma said...

Oh shit!

Sorry for such bad news, FL and Roo.

Kirsty said...

Thinking of you often x

The Foggy Knitter said...

so sorry and hugs x

Sigrid said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. Cancer sucks.

lovethebeach said...

Roo - Have been following you for years. You are an amazing woman. Best to you and FL during this time.

Lynn said...

Do what you can to help FL feel the best he can feel. Love one another. I think of you often and wish you both peace and grace at this difficult time. I am so sorry.

MaryinTN said...

Oh Roo and FL. Hubby and I are so sorry to hear this news. Sending you both hugs and love and keeping you in our prayers. Hope the transfusions help FL feel a little better.

tccomments2013 said...

dear Roo and FL,

such rough news to take in, such sudden shock to you both. I and sending you boatloads of warm hugs, and my most powerful vibes for healing and comfort. holding a bright light of hope that the transfusions will help FL feel much better, and to help you both find your way and be able to savor the gifts of ordinary days.

much love, XOXO,

Karen, TC

Susie Hewer said...

Oh Roo, that's crap. I'm so sorry.

ambermog said...

Oh Roo, that's so u nfair with all of FLs other health stuff:( sending love, strength and energy for both of you. YoU are in our thoughts xxx

sulkycat said...

I feel for both of you. My beloved aunty has terminal cancer, everywhere,and it is heartbreaking. Don't forget to look after YOU as well as FL. Thinking of you, Julia.

natalie said...

What a scunner!

Sometimes we can be rumbling on in no particular direction and something suddenly brings us up short, this is such a day.



unlabelled clothes said...

I'm thinking of you and FL. Sending you loving thoughts.

toboldlysew said...

So sorry to read this, holding you both in my thoughts x

Clare said...

Horrible news, I'm gutted for you both. Sending you lots of love and strength. Xx

Sabs said...

Oh Roo, that's so sad, sending out lots of hugs and best wishes to you both xx

greenmtngirl said...

Oh, Roo, I am so so sad to hear this news. I know we don't know each other but I've been enjoying your blog for years. I wish there was anything I could do to help--but sending you both strength and energy and good thoughts. I hope it helps to know how many of us are thinking of you both with love.

Paula said...

So sorry to hear this. Thinking of you both.

tim's wife said...

UGH!!!!!!!!So sorry to hear this latest news. Prayers and hugs go out to you all from across the pond. I just don't know what else to say. DAMMIT is all I got. :o((((

Joy said...

So sorry to hear it, Roo. We're all sticking with you...

Mary said...

This is not the news I was hoping to hear from his testing. Wishing you both the best, we battle the MM beast here as well.

Stephen Greene said...

Sorry to hear this. We worry for FLs dignity, but you seem to protect him well. We are concerned too, for your health, Roo. This long, long process is agonizing and exhausting.

Blessings to you and FL.

Kate said...

Hello Roo,
So sorry to hear this. Fl is lucky to have you in his life.

stitchandwitter.com said...

I can't add to all the sensitive and loving things people are saying here but just to let you know I send a silent prayer to whoever/whatever that you and FL stay strong and positive xxx

Karie B. said...

Oh Ruth. I am thinking of you and FL.

Nessie said...

Sorry to hear your sad news. I hope the transfusions bring FL some comfort. Thinking of you both.

acharmofmagpies said...

Oh Roo. There are no words adequate enough for this. My heart hurts with you.

Sarah said...

You are both in my thoughts and prayers. I am so very sorry about your sad news and am hoping for a happy outcome for you both.

Nicki said...

Just catching up on posts and there are no words :o( My dad had Leukaemia when I was 18, so have some idea of the journey ahead, but of course with the myeloma as well I can't really begin to imagine. Just so very sorry to hear this.