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Part A Cycle 3 Week 1

Posted by Frederick Wasti
May 19 2012

This was Week 9 of the clinical trial, which also made it Week 1 of the third 28-day cycle of Part A, so it meant that I visited Dana-Farber for three days this week. Wednesday was (as usual) the long day, involving blood tests, Tylenol, Benadryl, high-dose Methylprednisone, and Ofatumumab, while Thursday and Friday involved basically just high-dose Methylprednisone.

I did receive the results of Wednesday morning's blood tests, and it does seem as if things continue to slightly improve. Here's how the total white blood cell count looks, from the time of diagnosis until today ("S.O.T. = start of treatment"):


Looking at the far right part of the curve, it still shows a mostly downward trend since the start of treatment. Recently the slope is not quite as steep as it was during the first couple weeks of treatment, but, as the bottom of the graph is now "almost in sight", that is to be expected.

For perspective, here's the graph for my known WBC count history:

I will note a couple of things at this point:

First, my total white cell count on Wednesday was the lowest it's been since perhaps the beginning of 2008.

Second, depending on whether you consider the normal WBC count range to be 5,000 to 10,000 (per microliter) (the range I usually go with), or with the even narrower (and "stingier") 6,000 to 9,000 range, my white cell count today is currently back to within the normal WBC count range for the first time in several years.

(Still, I cannot be considered to be free of leukemia. I still have an unbalance of numbers of each of the cell types, I still have proportionally too many lymphocytes, most of my too-rapidly-produced lymphocytes don't function correctly, and the vast majority of the lymphocytes I have are almost certain to still be leukemic.)

The good news is that my lymphocytes (both the bad and the good, but remember that they're most bad lymphocytes) do indeed continue to decline, as the graph below continues to show:

At this point I am over half-way through Part A of my clinical trial (the Methylprednisone and Ofatumumab part, that is) and I will be starting Part B in not too may weeks. Part B will consist primarily of more intravenous infusions of Ofatumumab and new subcutaneous injections of Alemtuzumab - the only Methylprednisone I will receive in Part B will be low doses of it before the Ofatumumab infusions, as far as I know. I believe, also, that the focus of the battle will shift slightly as well, with more cells being killed in the marrow and perhaps less so in the lymph nodes - I will have more to say about new phase of the battle later on.

Oh, and by the way, each self-administered morning injection of Fondaparinux is going well, just like the proverbial piece of cake (well, maybe a stale piece of cake... <g>).

Categories: Leukemia