Hey everyone, I know it’s been quite some time since I did an official update about Brandon’s treatment. It has been very busy over the last few weeks for Brandon and I, as we have been adjusting to our new normal.
Things have been going relatively smoothly since Brandon was discharged from the hospital a few weeks ago. Last week, his white blood cell count started to rise again as the effects from the previous chemotherapy started to wear off. To prevent his white blood cell count from becoming too high, he was given another single dose of IV chemotherapy last Tuesday. Thankfully, Brandon responded well to the chemotherapy and his white blood cell count has been within a safe range since. We have been visiting the hospital 3 times a week for blood work and check ups to make sure all his labs are within a safe range.
Since he has been continuously receiving some kind of chemotherapy (either IV or oral), his other blood cell counts have been continuously low. This has translated into spending a lot of time at the hospital for red blood cell and platelet transfusions. We are incredibly thankful for all the blood donors that have supported Brandon and continue to support him during his battle with leukemia.
On Monday, Brandon had a routine spinal tap to check for the presence of leukemia cells in his central nervous system. Certain types of leukemia are known to migrate to the central nervous system where they become immune to standard IV chemotherapy. Since Brandon’s leukemia is particularly aggressive, he falls into a higher risk category for CNS (central nervous system) leukemia. During the procedure, they removed spinal fluid for testing and injected chemotherapy into his spinal cord. The injection of chemo was a preventative measure to ensure that any leukemia cells present are killed before they can become a problem down the road.
Brandon’s last spinal tap was done in March and we were blessed to receive negative test results for CNS leukemia. I am extremely happy to report that the most recent test came back with the same negative result! Brandon DOES NOT have CNS leukemia! We are incredibly thankful to have received this good news! Our prayers were answered in a big way this week.
As I mentioned before, Brandon’s doctors have been waiting for what’s called a ‘wash out period’ from one of his transplant medications prior to starting a new leukemia treatment. I am so thankful that this Friday we are hitting the big milestone of one month off his anti-rejection medication! His body has done very well adjusting to being off this medication and he has not had ANY signs or symptoms of graft-verses-host disease (where the donors cells attack the recipients body). Not only is this amazing for Brandon’s health, but it opens a lot of new options for potential leukemia treatments. Now that he has reached this important milestone, he should be able to start a new treatment very soon. We are anxious and excited to get back to kicking this leukemia to the curb!
We will be meeting with Brandon’s leukemia team this Friday to discuss the next steps with his treatment. We have been very blessed that Brandon’s leukemia has been relatively stable over the last month despite not receiving aggressive treatment. This has allowed the doctors ample time to make sure that he is eligible for the most promising treatments available.
Despite our difficulties over the last few weeks, we are focused on the wealth of blessings in our lives. We are so thankful for the kindness and support from our friends, family, communities, and Brandon’s treatment teams at MD Anderson. We are very excited to begin the next steps of this journey, and ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward.
I will continue to keep everyone updated with Brandon’s treatment and share the good news that we receive along the way! Check out some photos from our adventures over the last few weeks below.