Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Hoping against hope.

Hi again guys,

Perhaps I was a bit premature and unnecessarily pessimistic in my note of yesterday. Yeah, the labs aren't looking good, but I don't have proof of CLL yet. That may be proven or disproven in the next few days as the flow cytometry is completed.

I'm still hoping against hope that this a "leukemoid reaction," a thought I mentioned in a separate message to Doug today. That's a pseudo-leukemic reaction one can get in response to a viral, or other, infection. The problem is, we haven't identified any other virus to account for this possibility. TB can cause it too. Hey, we were just in Mexico, maybe I picked up TB. I'd be HAPPY to have TB right about now. I got a TB test yesterday; so far it's negative!

Yesterday I was, for the first time, starting to read up on leukemia. Big mistake! First, I need to update my references! I pulled my pathology book off the shelf and started reading. When I got to the part that said "Death generally occurs within 3-4 years of diagnosis," I had seen enough. However, my pathology book is the same one I bought in med school, what, 28 years ago? It was probably written with data collected in the '60s.

Anyway, worst case scenario, if I have CLL, lots of folks live for decades with this condition, though some expire more rapidly. If I have it, it's very mild at this point, with my white counts being "only"18,000-20,000. Most leukemics have counts over 30,000 and up to100,000. And chemotherapy has advanced a considerable way since my archaic path book was written. By the way, my internist told me today that even if I have CLL, it's so mild, they wouldn't even treat it it at this point. I'm not sure what to make of that!

Anyway, I'll let all you guys know when I get an answer. If it's bad news I'll be seeing the Hematology/Oncology folks for an evaluation.They would be the ones to manage my disease at that point.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate your concern. I'll be in touch again.