Joe has been handling the treatment better than we expected thus far. He's had fairly minimal side effects, which is incredibly encouraging to me. He is still able to get up and walk around a lot. In fact, Thursday morning he said that he felt better than he did pre-treatment. Friday is supposed to be the beginning of the nadir (the lowest point in the treatment cycle, which could last a week before numbers begin to recover), so it is likely that the gnarly side effects will show up this week. They will be doing another bone marrow biopsy today to judge how successful the treatment has been. We hope (and expect) to see that the marrow is completely void but won't have those results until Monday. The doctors also said there is a chance that we wont have to be here for the full month! This will totally depend on how quickly his numbers recover, so pray hard that Joe bounces back quickly.
We also heard back about the most recent gene test and it was good news for us. The genes are still normal, which tells us that he does not have the high risk strain of MDS. Additionally, it tells us that the course of treatment is likely to be effective and there is less chance of relapse.
Finally the best news, Joe's sister (Amanda) is a Perfect bone marrow match!!! This not only lessens the worry for finding a match, it also means that we can get started with the transplant earlier and most importantly, there is generally better success with sibling matches for allogeneic transplants. We are scheduled to go up to Duke on November 14th and have a full work up and physical for him and his sister. Assuming that all goes well, we could begin the transplant process after Thanksgiving. Obviously we would be pretty sad to not have Christmas as a whole family, but in the grand scheme of things it is preferable to start treatment as soon as possible. Good new is, gifts for us are covered because Amanda pretty much wins the best Christmas present EVER award! No need in trying to top that.
We truly feel the prayers you all are sending carrying us through this. I believe there is no way Joe would be doing this well otherwise. Please continue to lift him up, praying for minimal side effects. Also please pray good health for Arleigh, Joe's parents, my mom and myself so that we can continue to see each other. Thank you so so much!