Pray for Grant

Aug. 5, 2012

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grant's test results are finally back. We got prelim results last week but we wanted them to be official before we posted anything. Grant is still in remission and for the 2nd time in a row, his Philadelphia Chromosome is undetectable. This means it has been 6 months since the last time his Philadelphia Chromosome was detectable (detectable, but too low to quantify – which the doctors tell us is basically zero.)

I have recently tried to explain his cancer to some people and I think I have finally come up with an easy way to understand it. The Philadelphia Chromosome (which is a DNA marker inside the walls of his white cell) developed out of the blue 3 years ago. He was not born with it. The Philadelphia Chromosome is a translocation of two chromosomes. In his case, when his white cells were dividing, the top of the number 9 chromosome fused to the bottom of the number 22 chromosome. It is the Philadelphia Chromosome that caused is white cell to become leukemia. In order to get rid of his type of cancer, he had to take Gleevec to kill the Philadelphia Chromosome. THEN, he had to take chemo to kill the cell. For him, it is a two step process. Before the existence of Gleevec, Dr.'s could rarely get rid of his type of leukemia because chemo alone would not kill his leukemia cells because the Philadelphia Chromosome made his cell very strong and resistant to the chemo. So, basically, Gleevec has saved Grant's life.

This morning, Grant will take his last dose of Gleevec - hopefully forever. Some have asked why he would not take this drug for life, as adult patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) do.  I have asked this question of our doctors. The answer is complicated but it basically comes down to the fact that CML and PH+ ALL are different diseases.  In order to cure Philadelphia Chromosome ALL it takes chemotherapy and Gleevec, not Gleevec alone.  The doctors hope that the years of high dose chemotherapy killed the leukemia cells that were weakened by the Gleevec. The best medical evidence available now says that keeping Grant on Gleevec from this point on will not prevent a relapse. There are also potentially dangerous side effects (liver and heart) from Gleevec so the doctors don’t want him to take the medicine any longer than is necessary.


Thanks again to everyone for praying for Grant and for being with us through this journey. We will be forever grateful.



 

About Me


Melanie McTaggart I am the proud mom and Claire and Grant. I am so blessed to have them in my life!

Aug. 5, 2012

Posted by Melanie McTaggart on Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grant's test results are finally back. We got prelim results last week but we wanted them to be official before we posted anything. Grant is still in remission and for the 2nd time in a row, his Philadelphia Chromosome is undetectable. This means it has been 6 months since the last time his Philadelphia Chromosome was detectable (detectable, but too low to quantify – which the doctors tell us is basically zero.)

I have recently tried to explain his cancer to some people and I think I have finally come up with an easy way to understand it. The Philadelphia Chromosome (which is a DNA marker inside the walls of his white cell) developed out of the blue 3 years ago. He was not born with it. The Philadelphia Chromosome is a translocation of two chromosomes. In his case, when his white cells were dividing, the top of the number 9 chromosome fused to the bottom of the number 22 chromosome. It is the Philadelphia Chromosome that caused is white cell to become leukemia. In order to get rid of his type of cancer, he had to take Gleevec to kill the Philadelphia Chromosome. THEN, he had to take chemo to kill the cell. For him, it is a two step process. Before the existence of Gleevec, Dr.'s could rarely get rid of his type of leukemia because chemo alone would not kill his leukemia cells because the Philadelphia Chromosome made his cell very strong and resistant to the chemo. So, basically, Gleevec has saved Grant's life.

This morning, Grant will take his last dose of Gleevec - hopefully forever. Some have asked why he would not take this drug for life, as adult patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) do.  I have asked this question of our doctors. The answer is complicated but it basically comes down to the fact that CML and PH+ ALL are different diseases.  In order to cure Philadelphia Chromosome ALL it takes chemotherapy and Gleevec, not Gleevec alone.  The doctors hope that the years of high dose chemotherapy killed the leukemia cells that were weakened by the Gleevec. The best medical evidence available now says that keeping Grant on Gleevec from this point on will not prevent a relapse. There are also potentially dangerous side effects (liver and heart) from Gleevec so the doctors don’t want him to take the medicine any longer than is necessary.


Thanks again to everyone for praying for Grant and for being with us through this journey. We will be forever grateful.