WTF is Leukemia?

AML
The big purple ones eating the small red ones

It is a blood cancer.  Starts in the bone marrow, where your cells are produced.  There is a high number of white blood cells that basically eat your red blood cells.

Why is this bad?

Red blood cells, primary function is to transport oxygen to the lungs.  Platelets, help blood clot.  White blood cells, help protect against disease.  Therefore your high number of white cells are treating your red cells like a disease and basically eating them.  You get very pale, have a super hard time breathing (it’s like you can’t catch your breath for basic things like showering), and you have bruises everywhere….and if it’s really bad your organs can start to bleed.

By the time they find your leukemia, you are basically critical and every minute counts to survive this bitch of a disease.  From the time the medical team finds it……it’s go time for chemo.  Don’t fuck around, do it!  You do not stand a chance with alternative treatment or medical marijuana……I don’t care WHAT anybody says.  You are too far gone to do alternative treatment trust me.  Blood cancer is THE most aggressive critical cancer you will ever find.  That’s why it’s also the most aggressive chemo done on anyone.  You will also need a shit load of blood transfusions to stay alive.  I had somewhere near 60 transfusions……maybe more……so thank you to all blood donors out there.

Symptoms: bleeding and/or bleeding problems,  feeling tired, fever, and an increased risk of infections (swollen glands, pain in spleen, severe achy body, pneumonia).  Basically you will feel like shit, cannot breathe (like you cannot take a shower because you get winded just walking to the washroom), feels like you have the flu, and then out of no where you have an pneumonia but were perfectly fine a week ago).

Diagnoses: CBC, complete blood count.  It’s cheap and they will see there is a really abnormal amount of white blood cells…..therefore, it WILL get sent for further testing to a blood specialist.  If you feel like ur dying…..you may just very well be.  I knew something was really wrong so I kept harping on my dr. but they missed it.  But don’t worry I ended up critical in emergency a week after lol.  I was in a lot of pain and I could NOT breathe or catch my breath.  Bone biopsy is done on top of your ass to find out what sub-type of luekemia you have so they can follow the right chemo protocol.

My sub-type:  M2:8:21 (AML – Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and then there was another genetic mutation that I had called c-kit that put me into the “intermediate category”.  Which meant that I could go either way, favourable or unfavourable outcome.  So I had 20% chance of survival instead of 40% chance.

Treatment: Induction, Consolidation x 3, Bone Marrow Transplant

Complications:  I got through induction, and 2 rounds of consolidation.  I nearly died with the 2nd round of consolidation.  I was not “tolerating the chemo well”, whatever that means!  If they did another round, I most likely wouldn’t be here.  In the meantime, I did not have a good enough stem cell match to do the transplant.  Graft vs. Host disease (where basically your body attacks itself constantly) which would have caused me severe suffering for the rest of my life so it was decided to let me recover and watch to see if the chemo “rebooted” my bone marrow so that my white blood cells behaved themselves.  I remain at under 5% blast cells in my bone marrow to this day.  It’s been 3 yrs to date since my last chemo treatment.  They will never say you are cured.  It’s always you are in remission as I can relapse at anytime.  The further time passes, the better I take care of myself by building a stronger immune system, and the lesser the stress…….the further this cancer gets……..that’s my opinion anyway.

~B~

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