For most patients, the standard first phase of AML treatment is induction chemotherapy. The goal of induction chemotherapy is to bring the disease into remission. Remission is when the patient's blood counts return to normal and bone marrow samples show no sign of disease (less than 5% of cells are leukemia cells). Induction chemotherapy is very intense. It usually lasts one week, followed by three or more weeks for the patient to recover from the treatment. During chemotherapy and the following couple of weeks the patients blood cell counts will be dangerously low, antibiotics and blood product transfusions are used to help protect against complications. In rare cases where the leukemia has spread to the brain or spinal cord chemotherapy may be given in the spine as well. Once Kristen's counts have recovered we will go home for about 10 days and then return for phase 2. There will be for sure one and maybe two more phases for Kristen and at that time they hope to have her in a full remission and then go forward with the bone marrow transplant. (This is for many that have asked about the plan for Kristen)
Kristen tolerated the chemo very well with few side effects. Is that any surprise considering her resilient, brave and courageous soul? Once again Kristen has amazed us! Over the next few weeks she will be getting a lumbar puncture or two, hence the leukemia in her spinal fluid.
Kristen is in pretty good spirits. She is adjusting to her new home. The only time she really complains is when she doesn't feel well. I'm on the search for some construction paper and glue so we can make a turkey for her door. If you see a pic you'll know I was successful. Yes, we will be spending Thanksgiving here in the hospital. It's ok as I'll have more time to reflect on the many things I am thankful for and what is truly important in life. Kristen loves the cards and letters she is receiving. She insists on opening each one herself and smiles as I read it to her. Thank You!