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ALL- how do you tell "how well" it's going?

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi everyone. My brother is 23 years old and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma about a month and a half ago. At that time, they only gave him one to three months because of how far the disease had progressed. We started chemotherapy the next day.
The doctors have really been amazed with how well he's been handling the chemotherapy. He had two tumors, I know rare for both the ALL and Lymphoma to have tumors, and those have gone away. He feels fairly well between treatments and really does alright during the chemo too.

So my silly sounding question is...

how do we know if the chemo is working? Are Bone Marrow Biopsies the only way to look at the leukemia cells to see how few are in the blood stream?

I would love someone's answers/support. I'm my brother's power of attorney because both of my parents are so torn up about this. I'm helping him out and trying to help them maintain as well, while planning my wedding, buying a house, and working full time. Help!


vabell52's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Julie

As I was just diagnosed in May 2010 with AML, I certainly am not an expert, but to my knowledge the bone marrow aspiration is the only way to know if the cells are normal. I have had 5 since May. I was given 2-3 months if no treatment. However I am in 100% remission and have been since June 29. A chromosome panel tells which ones went haywire to cause the disease and they know which chromosomes respond well to chemo.
I am so sorry that your brother is going through this at such a young age. There is a 36 yr old young man being treated in my facility; he also has ALL and has a tumor on his kidney. He is responding very well to treatment. The fact that your brother is also, is good news. The advances they have made with leukemia are very encouraging. A positive attitude is the best treatment. I wish you, your brother and your family good results. Do not give up hope, and please take care of yourself. You have a lot going on now, girl! I am here anytime you want or need to talk.
Peace and God Bless you and your family

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2010

hey..i am an ALL patient. i have been on chemo -the induction phase for the past one month. after two cycles my counts went very low, so they delayed the third cycle. my Dr. said that counts are low coz of sensitivity to the chemo, which is a good sign in one way. anywyay as my counts were not recovering as they shud have been normally, they did a bone marrow aspiration to find out what was happening midway in the induction pd. my bone marrow is clear so i am in remission. i am scheduled for my 4th cycle of chemo tomorrow which will be the last in the induction phase. even i am doing ok in my chemo ..with not very high adverse effects except a bit of nausea and loss of appetite after the 3rd cycle. but i still dread vincristine, which i think makes me feel lousy..though i recover after 2 days.

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2011

My 12 yr old son has ALL and he's been delayed a lot. We were getting frustrated because a lot of our plans were getting interrupted, so I did some research and found that Papaya Leaf Extract can increase platelets. We found chewable papaya tabs in a health food store, and he began taking one tab 3 times daily. His platelets jumped from a 30 (thousand?) to a 75 in 7 days and then a 75 to a 118 in the next 7 days. This inrease would usually take 4 weeks, so I am convinced it's the papaya. And it's natural, so try it and see.

Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2011

Shark Liver Oil is very good for supporting increased platelet levels...

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