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Dumbfounded and/or Gobsmacked !!!

Posted by Frederick Wasti
Jul 11 2012

Wow !!!

Today was the second day of Part B in my clinical trial at Dana-Farber, and, when I got the results back from this morning's blood tests (which reflect changes occurring following Monday's first Part B treatment), I was dumbfounded (or maybe I was gobsmacked - dunno which - <grin>).

To recap, on Monday I was given a full dose of Ofatumumab, the monoclonal antibody that I had received once each week during the 16 weeks of Part A and that I will receive once each month during Part B, ~and~ I was also given a full dose of Alemtuzumab, the new (to me) monoclonal antibody that I will receive on three days each week for each of the 24 weeks of Part B.

Well, to say that the effects on my blood counts from being given Alemtuzumab are astounding is almost an understatement.

The first number I looked at today, the total white cell count, was (compared to what I was to look at next) not overly surprising - it had dropped a bit to 3.8:

My eyes then jumped down to the neutrophil percentage, and I was astonished to see that the neutrophils had climbed to ~90%~ of my white cells:

My first reaction to this was that either I had made a mistake (looking at the wrong place on the printout, say), or that the results were simply wrong (after all, how could ~9/10~ of my leukocytes now be neutrophils, considering that they were less than 1% before treatment started?).

Then I had to look at the percentage of lymphocytes:

I was amazed to see that the lymphocytes now represented only ~1%~ of my total white cells, rather than the over-90% that they represented before the clinical trial began.

My first emotion (besides surprise) upon noting the above data was a bit of joy (since, after all, my leukemia involves lymphocytes, and Alemtuzumab is ~supposed~ to reduce the number of lymphocytes), but it then turned to some disbelief, when I again recognized just how drastic a change these numbers represented (Could this all be real? - Could this all be good?).

Looking at the absolute numbers of neutrophils...

...and the absolute numbers of lymphocytes,...

...it is clear that the dramatic change in percentages was due to the incredible drop in lymphocytes alone. Of course, destroying lymphocytes (unfortunately, both the leukemic ones and the normal ones) ~is~ supposed to happen during my treatment. But, was such a huge change for real?

I did not have contact with my doctor today (as I did last Friday), or with my nurse practitioner today (as I did on Monday), so I asked my infusion nurse about my blood test results, and she said that this was ~indeed~ what was supposed to happen. Still, I remain absolutely amazed.

For my final graph today, here is how the percentages of neutrophils (blue curve) and lymphocytes (red curve) each have varied during the clinical trial:

Now, is that an ~unusual~ graph, or what? (<smile>)

I am sure I will have more to learn about this, and to say about this, soon...

Wow !!! - Just Wow !!!

Categories: Leukemia