Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Beautiful Portland

I recently returned to my annual Portland visit with Dr. Druker. This year was going to be a little different since Caroline, his longtime nurse practitioner had recently retired. I was fortunate to have contact with his new NP, Diana Brewer, prior to my arrival. She was very welcoming and accommodating and even facilitated getting my blood work done beforehand. Prior to even leaving for Portland, I had several PCR readings, one at Dana-Farber and the one at Oregon Health and Sciences University. Both were quite good. The Dana-Farber one showed that the CML was undetectable. On the OHSU lab, my results were "weakly positive" indicating that on this more sensitive test, a few cells were found to show some CML. Dr. Druker felt that this was statistically insignificant and essentially equivalent to undetectable. Needless to say, the pressure was off heading out West this year.

When I arrived, it was one of the nicest springs I had ever seen in Portland.I could see Mt. Hood clearly. The picture below was taken from the OHSU campus. Quite a view they have.

Often it is rainy or cold, but this felt like summer. I had a nice introduction with Diana. She was super sweet and pleasant and is a good addition to Dr. Druker's team. During my meeting with Dr. Druker, he talked about my excellent results and even after a slight scare last year with numbers going back up, everything is back to where it should be. He talked about some of the research he is conducting taking people off Tasigna who have been undetectable for 2 years. He was waiting on results, but felt optimistic that this might be a course of treatment in the future. Of course, it would mean having to switch medication, but with the possibility of coming off forever. This is likely a conversation for the future.

I had a nice appointment and then started my Portland adventure. I walked all along the waterfront area which was mobbed with people and the city's Rose Festival being set up. I also borrowed a bike from my hotel and took a ride along the waterfront. The following day, I had booked a biking tour of the Columbia River Gorge and waterfalls (see pictures below). It is truly spectacular as you can see from some of the photos below. Portland is an incredible city and I would recommend a visit to people who have not been there. Aside from the amazing offerings within the confines of the city itself, the outskirts (Mt. Hood, Columbia River Gorge, and Pacific Coast areas) are all so beautiful. I had a nice mini-vacation and things continue to proceed nicely with my health care.

Monday, March 03, 2014

8 Years

It is hard to believe, but it was 8 years ago today that I was diagnosed with CML. Fortunately, as you can tell by my lack of blog entries, there is not too much to report. Last year, I had a bit of a scare as my PCR numbers went up for the first time in many years. As I readjusted my CML medication and cholesterol meds, everything returned to normal. The interaction between the two was apparently helping me. Since then, things have been stable and normal.

I am thankful that CML is not something I think about every day. I am thankful that Gleevec exists and works wonderfully. I am also thankful to the wonderful doctors whose life mission is to cure and treat this disease. Finally, I am thankful for my family and friends for all the support I have received as I have dealt with this diagnosis.