4/18/17 – I was at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center today for my periodic CBC (blood test) and all my count continue to be normal. This, of course, is fantastic news. With this news, we now feel comfortable to start the process of having my port removed. Hopefully it will happen within the next month.
With this positive news, a conversation ensued with Dr. Rowley (a wonderful doctor and one heck of a nice guy) and our favorite APN, Melissa over the status of my Mantel Cell Lymphoma. We pondered… Am I in remission or could it be that I am actually considered cured?
Cured??? I had always had the understanding that MCL was incurable. How can you cure the incurable?
As it turns out MCL is probably still considered incurable when it comes to using chemotherapy to treat it… BUT with a Stem Cell Transplant, specifically an Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant (the stem cells come from a matched related or unrelated donor) is it possible that this can result in a cure of MCL?
Let’s explore my adventure and see if there is anything that possible support this:
· On July 29, 2015, I had my last Chemo treatment. Scans that followed showed that the four treatments of RBAC did not achieve remission.
· On August 3, 2015, I had my first ever DLI (Donor lymphocyte infusion – a Stem Cell Transplant booster).
· Following the DLI… On October 13, 2015, scans showed that I was in remission
· On November 12, 2015, I had a second DLI.
· Today, Tuesday, April 18, 2017, I continue to be in remission and MCL free.
Could it be that the Stem Cell Transplant after being boosted with DLI’s has turned my immune system into a disease fighting machine? I would love to think so.
As my good doctor, APN, my wife and I continued to chat we settled on a statement that “Mantle Cell Lymphoma is an incurable disease EXCEPT when it comes to an Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant.” I’m not sure you will find this in any medical journals but I am personally feeling really good about it being accurate.
Saying this, MCL is certainly a very manageable disease. As I have said many times, I plan to live to 100… with or without MCL.
As far as an update for the rest of my health, sure, I have this MDS thing looming in the background… but I have absolutely no symptoms and I spend zero time worrying about it. We will continue to monitor it with periodic CBC (blood tests).
As far as my next follow up appointments, I have my next set of scans scheduled on June 20th and a follow up review with Dr. Goy on the same day. Also, my next appointment with Dr. Rowley and the transplant team is scheduled for July 11th.
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
In the Easter season is important that we remind ourselves that Jesus died to free us from sin. Here is a YouTube link to an awesome song called “Forgiven” by David Crowder.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
More to come…