Yesterday and today there are ZERO blasts in Allistaire’s blood!
Her ANC has fallen back to zero as well after Wednesday being 22 and yesterday being 16 – more good news that the chemo is working for what we can tell on the outside!
At 9:30 this morning, Allistaire finished up her last dose of Plerixafor which again, is going into the marrow to release the cancerous stem cells into her peripheral blood so they can be more accessible to the chemo. The stem cells are the true bad guys, as they are the origin of the blasts. So we’re not just lookin’ for dead blasts here people, we want the Godfather(s) taken down!
Tonight, or more precisely in the wee hours of Saturday, at 1 am, Allistaire will receive her last dose of Cytarabine for this round. This means that once this last chemo is in, we must wait, not so much for counts to drop since they are already at bottom, but for the eventual rise of her counts which will hopefully only contain healthy cells.
Dr. Pollard told me yesterday that we are being moved to the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) team as of next Friday, April 5th. Of course we have no way of knowing if Allistaire will be in remission, but a lot has to be planned and steps taken with the idea that she will be so that everything would be set for her to have her transplant if she is in remission. True remission is again considered .1% or less blasts in the marrow as determined by flow cytometry, but because of Allistaire’s very high-risk status, they will “take her to transplant,” as they say, if she is in morphologic remission which means 5% or less blasts as seen under the microscope. Of course, we are all hoping for the lowest numbers possible in order to give her the best shot at a successful transplant. They are still planning on going with the cord blood that they have reserved for Allistaire, as the stem cell source. Time is of essence! Dr. Pollard also mentioned in passing, that they will be giving her the most severe “conditioning,” (chemo and radiation) they have available. Scary and I didn’t feel ready to ask what that really means. But, I guess it is clear that they are going to throw everything they have at her cancer, this mindless beast that just wants to perpetuate itself to the utter disregard of her wellbeing.
But today we are here – today we are alive. Last night Allistaire ate an entire piece of cheese pizza from our favorite pizza joint, Pagliaccis. This year marks 20 years of me consuming their tasty pizza! I can hardly believe that it has been 20 years since I was a wee freshman in college at the University of Washington. The days where I would skip Greek class to meet my boyfriend under the Monkey Tail tree and go get slices of Pagliaccis seems far off. Every night in the hospital I sleep under the comforter that is also 20 years old. Who knew that it’s mauve and forest green plaid would one day keep me warm sleeping in a hospital with my little girl who’s fighting cancer. Strange how one point in your life ends up meeting up with another point in your life, in ways you could never have imagined. Kinda fun and kinda overwhelming. Probably best we don’t know what the future holds. We are not equipped to deal with so much. Jesus was so right when he said that we should not worry about tomorrow because each day has enough trouble of its own. And, as I am still working to learn, fixating on the days to come can rob you of the joy right in front of your face. Eat the manna. Enjoy the day. Take stock of what riches are laid before you. Dive in, consume it, relish in it. Sit with belly full, satisfied, content. And then do the same tomorrow.