Talbot G
Posted by

Keeping Positive Throughout 2014

Talbot G
Posted by
06 Oct 2014

Hi everyone, just thought I would write this blog for anyone who is diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukaemia. My journey with APL started on 19th April 2013 and like most I was totally overwhelmed with the diagosis. By the end of May after treatment with Atra and Idirubican I reached remission. This was followed by three more cycles of consoldation treatment which went according to plan and the only side effects I had was fatigue. By December I was still MRD negative and my picc line was removed (which was to be another little milestone). I returned to work part time and everything was working well. In March this year whilst relaxing in my front room, my son Adam notice bruising on my left ankle bone and small blood spots at the bottom of my leg.  Advised if anything like this was to happen I needed to go to straight to A&E. Well at 2230hrs on a friday night I took myself off to Basildon Hospital, showed my Chemotherapy Alert Card and within 40 minutes (after blood tests) I was told that my platelets low and that I had relapsed. Off to St Barts Hospital in ambulance we go. Straight back onto the Atra tablets. The following morning my consultant confirmed that I had relapsed with Apl and that they were going to start me on ATO (Arsenic Trioxide) along with Atra. The first dose of ATO is taken along side steriods for the first five days and the only discomfort I experienced was bone pain all over. (this is due to the arsenic attacking the leukaemic cells ) Three weeks later I was back in remission !!. I followed this treatment with another round of ATO which consisted of one dose each day for the first week followed by twice a week for three weeks. Each session lasted around 3 hours. The next course of treatment was collecting my own stem cells (known as an autologous transplant). I had to give myself 3 GCSF injections (growth factor)per day for four days to stimulate my bone marrow to produce loads of stems cells that then overflowed into my bloodstream ready for collection. The harvesting of my cells was a painless procedure and they managed to collect enough stem cells ready for the next part. I will be going back into Barts Hospital next week for high dose chemotherapy which kills all the cells in my bone marrow, then I will have my own harvested stem cells put back into me via a drip. All being well that will be the end of it. I am a positive person and know that the next couple of months will be tough but like anything if you hit this head on and remain as happy as you can you can all beat this. My favourite record which is my mobile phone ring tone is "happy" by Pharrell Williams which I hear each day brings a smile to my face ! Is'nt funny how the simple things in life give you the most pleasure. Regards for now and will update this as and when.

Comments

Anonymous
09.10.2014

Just wishing you all the very best.

Anonymous
09.10.2014

Thank you ever so much for your comments

10.10.2014

Thanks very much for sharing this Garrie. Inspirational reading and wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery. 

15.10.2014

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Garrie.

I've got everything crossed that the stem cell transplant goes well and that your back at home and enjoying life in full remission from APL for good soon. Stay in touch and don't hesitate to get in touch if there's anything that we can do to help.
 

Anonymous
16.10.2014

Best wishes for your treatment and thank you for sharing your story with us. Take care.

Anonymous
02.12.2014

Keeping positive is the best thing you can do. I have just celebrated 21 years post BMT for APML. Sending you positive thoughts. Diane xx

02.12.2014

Sending you positive thoughts.

Othe 18/11/14 I just celebrated 21years post BMT for APL and hope to celebrate many more.

If I can do it so can you!!!!

Diane xx

Anonymous
18.02.2015

Thank you for sharing your experiences. You have been through a lot. I love your positive attitude. I was diagnosed with APL in October 2013, received inpatient ATRA and arsenic trioxide for 6 weeks, and 6 more months of outpatient treatment. I am so happy to be in remission for 8 months now. My initial symptoms were unexplained bruising, bleeding and fatigue. Best wishes for your continued remission.

Anonymous
18.02.2015

Great news Nancy my initial symptoms where the same. My stem cell transplant went well and I am still in remission. Need to update my blog !
Keep positve and take everyday as it comes