I am trying to come up with words to express how we are feeling, but they aren't sufficient. Although we knew that MDS was likely, I (personally) was not prepared to deal with the leukemia. Previously, the hope was that we found it early, and that it would never mature to this point. I suppose there is "silver lining" in that there are a limited number of cells present. With that, it is not considered "acute myeloid leukemia" yet. We will have to wait another week or so before we know the gene typing and the aggression level.
The next steps are coming quickly. Joe and I will drive back up to Duke for appointments and new patient orientation on Monday. While at Duke they will test to find Joe's HLA in order to begin the donor search. We will then return home for a few days before Joe is admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville for his first round of intense chemo. This is referred to as 7 +3 treatment (a first line induction therapy to induce remission). It will involve being in the hospital for (on average) a month.
Assuming the first treatment goes well, and the match process is moving along smoothly, Joe will have about a month to recover before going to transplant. While we don't have all the details of the process yet, we do know it will involve a second round of chemo and possibly radiation, to "condition" his body for the transplant, then the transplant with both in-patient and out-patient recovery. We've been told to expect this process to last about 3 months. With full recovery maybe a year out.
I assume we will get a mountain of information on Monday. I will do my best to keep this page updated with new details as they become available.
Thank you so much for all the love and support. While I don't reply to all the messages, please know each one means so much to us.
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