Acute myeloid leukemia has been grouped into three categories…..favorable, intermediate, and unfavorable. Those who fall in the favorable category and some in the intermediate category are able to receive chemotherapy and be cured. Those however in unfavorable and some in the intermediate cannot be cured without a bone marrow transplant.
Jennifer has a translocation of the 10th and 11th chromosomes. This means cells on the 10th have swapped places with some of the cells on the 11th chromosome. Whenever the 11th chromosome is involved in a translocation, you are in the unfavorable category.
Now many who get aml are much older than Jen. The average age is 67 years old. Thus because of the aging population, the group comes with other health issues including heart, kidneys, liver, etc. This group of people have a difficult time handling the strong chemotherapy required for curing. They also have a difficult time getting through the transplant phase of treatment. With an immune system that is weakened by the chemotherapy, your body has a difficult time fighting off any infection. The infections can become severe and do a toll on your body.
In the next 2-3 weeks we will be moving forward to transplant. This stage is a long and difficult period with days 14-28 the most difficult. The journey from hospital to outpatient is 4-8 weeks and an additional 4-6 weeks of outpatient with living in the big city of Columbus. In total it is close to 100 days of being away from our little town and home.
Once home outpatient treatment continues for several years with again another 100 days of weekly and twice weekly check ups.
Although we are happy Jen had gotten to this next stage, and she has a unrelated donor match, we fear the unknown of the future.