Hollow bones, thin blood

Beth is in quite a bit of pain lately, and while I can’t comment on it from a medical perspective, it seems as if she is indeed suffering from “hollow bones and thin blood”.

Her most recent bone marrow biopsy said the cellular matter in her marrow was down to 20% (for normal folks, it’s 50%), and her primary blood levels – hemoglobin, white blood cells, and platelets, continue to fall and hover at low levels. On her most recent blood chart, her white blood cells are a “critical low”.

The Vidaza she is taking is a form of chemotherapy that has two functions: a cytotoxic effect, which just simply kills bad (and good) cells, and a genetic component, which is supposed to allow some of the “undifferentiated” blast cells (baby blood cells) to “grow up” and differentiate into the kinds of cells they are supposed to be. The first effect continues to work – she feels terrible – but I think that, because her brand of leukemia is so rare, the Vidaza doesn’t quite touch on the genes that enable these blast cells to differentiate normally.

So the net effect is that she is receiving a light version of a chemotherapy (which is working), but with none of the good effects.

And the overall effect is that the various pressures in her body are causing pain, “way deep down” as she says, in her bones.

The good news is that we now have one individual who qualifies on the DNA (10 of 10 matches on HLA markers) scale to be a donor, and who has agreed to do it. There are two more people who are 10/10 matches who are undergoing final testing, and we may hear from them this week.

Please keep us in your prayers.

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