Thursday, March 03, 2016


It is hard to believe, but today is 10 years since I was diagnosed with CML. That, in itself, is an incredible thing. Given the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with CML in the days before Gleevec and other medications that are now available was only 5 years, I have now doubled that. Needless to say, I am thankful for Gleevec giving me this opportunity to live life with CML deep in the background.

As you can see by my lack of posts, I have not been writing much about CML. Frankly, there is not too much to say. I have been in Major Molecular Remission for many years now. While I have some fluctuations in my numbers here and there, for the most part, CML has mostly disappeared from my body. The amazingly sensitive tests (PCR) designed to find CML cells in the body, may find a cell occasionally. More often than not, however, my numbers say undetectable. I used to be overly focused on my numbers. Now, I sometimes forget to share my results with my family.

Other than my daily medication, my CML monitoring takes place four times per year. I have two appointments with my oncologist at Dana-Farber. I have one blood test at Dana-Farber in between. Once a year, I fly out to OHSU in Portland to meet with Dr. Druker. We try to make a trip out of it while there. I have come to really love Portland when I visit. Other than these 4 times, I really don't think about CML all that much.

It is hard to imagine being at this place when a diagnosis like this comes about. It was a very stressful time 10 years ago when this all happened. I suspect my family and friends were probably more affected than even I was. Today, we are more relaxed, about this, however.

When I think about it, I am so lucky to have diagnosed when I did. The fact that CML has shifted from a fatal illness to a chronic medical condition just speaks volumes about the advances in modern medicine.