Wednesday, January 23rd 2008 (Day +658)
We are back at the Mayo Clinic for our 3 month checkup. We left Pryor at 6:00 AM this morning in the Pilatus PC12 and made the trip in 1:56. We had a tiny bit of a tail wind and saw speeds of over 300 mph at times. It sure beats driving 11 hours! The new plane shaves nearly an hour off the Cirrus SR22 trip times. The trip home should be even faster due to stronger north winds. In less than 2 hours we went from 50 degree temperatures to below zero temperatures. Brrrr....it is cold in MN in January!
We are over a month late for our checkup due to the fact that Jackie's mother had some health issues.
Today we met with Dr. Zent and learned the result of Jackie's latest blood tests. Everything is NORMAL! I don't believe she had a single component that was above or below normal. Wow, what a change over 2 years ago at this time. Dr. Zent declared Jackie to be "in complete remission" for her CLL. Of course this is what we expected, but it is a relief to hear the doctor make an official proclamation!
She is experiencing some Stage 1 graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) on her forearms. This is somewhat painful, but largely annoying. We meet with a dermatologist tomorrow to plot a strategy to see if we can improve her situation. They are considering a pill which will help her skin absorb ultraviolet sunlight. Of course it is necessary not to get too much sunlight due to the possibility of skin cancer.
We've found that her GvHD is greatly helped by the use of aloe vera. She is using the actual plant, splitting the leaves, and rubbing the gel on her skin. It has made quite a difference. Prior the the aloe vera she was using various skin moisturizers with little effect.
Not very many people read this blog anymore - and that is good! It means that Jackie's life is no longer in imminent danger. I know a few pre-transplant CLL patients will read this so I wanted to once again point out how good the Mayo Clinic is with regard to patients. You simply cannot believe how good the medicine here can be. If you are considering a transplant you owe it to yourself to come to Rochester, MN to see for yourself. It is as close to having your own private doctor as you can get!
We will be back in Rochester in April or May for a scheduled checkup. I'm sure the weather will be much improved. With luck I'll be dodging Spring thunderstorms instead of Winter snow showers:)