A new reader, Keith, just asked a great question about his wife’s condition under the comment section of yesterday’s post. I thought I would try to answer his question here:
Hi Pat, new to blog and not quite sure how it works. I have a question re remission after stem cell transplant. I had hoped that my wife would be told she has full remission but she has been told she has partial remission with less than 5% of her cells affected now by myeloma. Her marrow was 100% compromised at diagnosis. I have read in a few places about a “good partial remission” and have some difficulty understanding what that means. Is less than 5% “good” etc. thanks
Thanks, Keith! I’m not quite sure how it is all supposed to work either! Readers may note I try and use correct punctuation and write in complete sentences. I’m surprised I am allowed to blog at all! But at age 53 it just doesn’t feel right to use “u” for you or “i” for I or… Well, you get the picture. I don’t even do that in my e-mails. Speaking of e-mail, if I were Keith I may have e-mailed my question to me instead. My zen-web-master just embedded my e-mail address today into the top graphics of this blog to make it easier to do just that!
On to Keith’s question. Remembering I’m not a physician, Kieth, your wife’s post- transplant condition is not unusual and very positive. Many SCT recipients never fully achieve a complete response or remission (CR) and still go on to live relatively cancer free for two, three or four years–sometimes even longer. Studies seem to conflict over the prognosis (read my last two blog posts about prognosis on my other daily blog, www.HelpWithCancer.Org. Some studies show no difference in outcome between myeloma patients that achieve CR or only get to a very good partial response (VGPR). Others studies seem to contradict this and show achieving a CR is a better indicator of a longer positive response. Remember this: Multiple myeloma is not one type of cancer but many grouped together. Myeloma patients respond in all different ways to the same type of treatment. It is imposible to predict how long her transplant will last. I would say without hesitation this is good news for your wife, especially if her bone marrow was that over-run with myeloma cells. And remember there are many, many new drugs being developed around the clock to help me, your wife and other myeloma patients live longer! Every week, month or year we can hang-in-there is a hopeful, positive thing! Really! My best to both of you!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat