My wife has a form of blood cancer

A couple of weeks ago I posted to the effect that I had attended my first bone marrow biopsy, which was performed on my wife, Bethany, after she had been admitted to a hospital with very low blood levels.

At the time, we treated it as just something routine, but as it turns out, she has been diagnosed with something called “myelodysplastic syndrome” (MDS), which is one among a group of pre-leukemia types of cancers of the blood. Even though it is a “pre-leukemia,” it is still a cancer, and it seems as if they will be treating it aggressively. This means a regimen of intense chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant.

Essentially, with this disease, it seems as if you get one chance at a cure; if for some reason there is a relapse, all the “prognosis” numbers seem to go way down. My wife is in a “high risk” category (on International Prognostic Score System – IPSS). The prognosis for this is about 50% for a “complete remission” (CR). On the other hand, if this treatment is not successful, then, as our doctor says, “there is not much to do about it.”

Left untreated, some 30% of cases progress to an aggressive form of leukemia called “acute myleoid leukemia” (AML). But once the “chemo-and-transplant” efforts have run their course, they seem to be far less effective the next time around.

Here are a few links, for those who are interested:

Myelodysplastic Syndrome: Wikipedia.

National Cancer Institute: Patient Information.

National Cancer Institute: Health Professional information.

M.D. Anderson, a leading research facility on MDS.

She and I have an appointment today down at the West Penn Allegheny Cancer Institute, in their bone marrow transplantation area.

This particular blog post is just to let all of my friends and business contacts know what is going on. I’ll be adding updates here from time to time to let everyone know what’s going on. If you want to get in touch with me, please feel free to comment here, as I’ll be checking in frequently.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers.

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