In 2004, my dad was diagnosed with Essential Thrombocythemia. This is a fairly uncommon disease where his bone marrow was producing WAY too many platelets. This was happening because his bone marrow was way out of wack. Your bone marrow produces your white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. A normal platelet count is anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000. My dad's was in the millions. At the time, not much was known about ET, and we mostly waited around to see what would happen. My dad took medications, had a bone marrow biopsy, and we were told that eventually this ET could turn into Leukemia but only a small minority of people experience this. Fast forward 6 years down the road, and my dad was diagnosed with Myelofibrosis.
In my dad's case, his Myelofibrosis was a direct result of Essential Thrombocythemia. Because his bone marrow was working super hard every day to produce a significant amount of platelets, it finally got worn out and the reverse happened- his bone marrow could no longer produce the normal amount of platelets. Ironic! An extensive amount of scarring had occurred in his bone marrow which was disrupting his platelet production. Once side affects started kicking in, we knew something was wrong. In July of 2011, the doctors told my dad that he had Myelofibrosis and that we would have to monitor it closely. A side effect of Myelofibrosis is an enlarged spleen and once October 2011 came around, my dad had to have his taken out. The doctors told us that it weighed about 7lbs!
Over the past two years, my dad has experienced all kinds of side effects of Myelfibrosis. We visited multiple doctors hoping for a drug that could slow down the progression but his platelets continued to drop. Eventually, his platelets plummeted to a count of 29,000 and the doctors told him that he needed a Stem Cell Transplant and that he needed to act fast. That brings us to where we are now.
After accepting what the doctors have told us, we've decided to have a Stem Cell Transplant at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Since my dad isn't quite ready for the transplant, the plan is to put him on Chemo drugs until we can lower his Blasts (cancerous cells) from 13% to about 5%. Only then will he be ready to move forward with the transplant. The doctor tells us that we should expect to be in transplant in Atlanta in 6-8 weeks.
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