Tuesday, April 27, 2010


"I feel so good," Why does my gratitude sound like protest? "Why can't we just believe the cancer is over." I had the evidence -- Last night, I walked from the Pete Gross House to the Space Needle." Chemo was pulled the day after Easter. Bone marrow biopsy and aspirations are clear of detectable cancer. Spinal fluid from lumbar puncture is clear. My body has been bathed in prayer. God's miracles have blessed me over a life time. The miracle could be operative now.
"Of course, you have a choice. All transplants are optional," the doctor said on our first meeting at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, April 16.
I re-thought through this again. Two weeks of intensive, some invasion tests. Between my body inspections, I met and talked with a woman who had endured transplant yet the cancer came back. One completed transplant was packing his car to return home. One on his second transplant. The 20 - 25% of those who don't survive transplant spoke as loud as the ones I met face to face.
April 25, I read through the final results of the International ALL Trial (MRC UKALL XII/ECG E2993) one more time. Though all the clinical and scientific language did not make sense to me, the last paragraph was unmistakable: "Sibling donor allogeneic transplantation is the treatment of choice for adults with standard-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, (ALL) in remission providing the greatest chance for a long-term survival. "
"Did you bring the consent form," Paul McDonnell, M.D. asked at our Monday, April 26, 2010, data conference?
"I can't find it," I confessed.
"Here it is," he offered, after looking through my stack of papers.
"But it says 'research clinical trial, I didn't know this was it" I explained.
"They all are (research)," he said. "Sign here." I did.
The doctor was tidying the pages to insert in his file when I stopped him.
"There is a place for you to sign too," I dared. My consent was no empty, one-sided ritual. "I want to watch you sign." He did. I needed his commitment. We shook hands.
Thursday, I go inpatient. We will begin the take-down. Two drugs to search and destroy my capacity to make blood. We eradicate my immune system. One of the two drugs is nick named "liquid radiation" by one attending physician. An additional drug is used to suppress seizures since one of the side effects of the first two meds is seizure. Blood tests every four hours to monitor.
I expect the hospital room to be cozy. Hope for a view. I covet your prayers.

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