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Joined: Aug 2013

My dad, 57 years old and a smoker, was recently diagnosed with AML M2. He just completed the 3-7 chemotherapy plan and has been in the hospital about 11 days. Every day he is stricken with fevers. He has mood swings and he is extremely weak. The doctors aren't very informative or helpful. Tomorrow he has his second biopsy, I guess to evaluate how he is doing. 

I am 21 and lost my mother two years ago. My dadis a single father to me and my sister. If any one has any insight to this disease, help is needed.I

Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2013

My heart goes out to you. After losing your mom recently you must be terrified. This is a scary disease but it is treatable and even curable in many cases. Right now he is going through the induction phase and have blasted him with high doses of chemo.  This is standard protocol.  Right now the chemo is still in his system and knocking down his blood counts. His immune system is weak, that's why he has these fevers. The fatigue and weakness are typical. They will treat him with antibiotics and other drugs to fight infections until his white cell counts increase. It might be this round of chemo doesn't get the job fully done.  That's not unusual.  They will just give him more, probably for 4 or 5 days. It took me 2 rounds to get into remission and I spent 51 days in the hospital until my counts recovered. Typical time is 30 days.

After they send him home and he gets stronger he will go back for more chemo to kill off any remaing cancer cells.  This is called a consolidation round and is usually not as intense as induction.  Depending on the type of AML (called cytogenics) they will recommend another two or three consolidation chemo rounds or a stem cell transplant (also called a bone marrow transplant).  He is young enough so that a stem cell transplant is doable as long as a well matched donor can be found, either a sibling or an unrelated donor.  Usually one can be found.

This is a brief start. There are a million other things to know and as things develop you will learn more.  And by the way, the doctors are not being informative because there are all sorts of privacy rules and dad has probably not given them permission to speak to you about his case. Don't push it right now. When the time is right ask the doctors about it and see if your dad will let them share details with you.

Posts: 13
Joined: May 2013

This is one of the hardest parts.  I suggest taking the time to write down your questions and then tell your oncologist next time they round that you need to talk and get some answers.  Ideas: How long do you expect him to be in the hospital?  Who will decide what kind of follow up treatment is needed (will it be consolidation? How many rounds? Inpatient or outpatient? OR bone marrow transplant?  Where will this be done?)  If the mood swings are severe you may ask about medication.  They can help him with anti-depressants...or it could be that the pain meds he is on are a big cause of the mood swing...in which case you can try to switch meds but you may have to deal with it so he can manage the pain.  For ex., we learned that morphine made my hubby MOODY and we preferred dilaudid.  stronger pain med, yes he slept a lot, but that's okay.  

You will want to know about his cytogenetic workup?  Was there anything favorable/less favorable?

I hope that 2nd biopsy went well...but in case it didn't...try not to stress too much.  That was a bad day for us.  Still too much leukemia and they immediately started more chemo.  Made for a rough few weeks, but we made it through!

i have some suggestions for later to stay healthy, but right now you just face to take it 1 day (sometimes and hour) at a time.  Feel free to email me if i can help answer any questions or be of support.  My husband has been in remission 1 year (next week!) and had a more aggressive form I believe than what M2 is.  Jlamomof2@yahoo.com


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