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Spouses and Caregivers The people who take care of the patient

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Old Tue Apr 17, 2012, 05:25 AM
Hopez2 Hopez2 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 17
Scared of What the Future May Hold

My husband was diagnosed with MDS at the age of 32. It progressed to AML within months. A BMT was needed immediately with the speed of the onset of the disease; plus he had 3 cytogenetics. Post-transplant was tough. He never got to feeling actually good. He had some decent days, but never great ones. He relapsed at a year and had a second dose of his donor cells - a mini transplant (I forget the actual term). That was in Oct. He almost died from GVHD this time, but the Dr's saved his life. However, he has not had any quality of life since; he sleeps 22 hrs out of the day. I just found out that they found 1 cell with the abnormal chromosomes in the 6 month biopsy which means that the Leukemia is back.
They have told me that they can not cure him and are starting him on decitabine to help prolong his life. I am scared of how the next few months will play out. They told me he will not have much more of a quality of life than he does now, but with leukemia patients, do they normally die from the disease or other complications caused by the disease, i.e. heart, lungs, etc..
Any experience that anyone has had would be extremely helpful.

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Old Fri May 18, 2012, 12:16 AM
Debbie W Debbie W is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: NJ
Posts: 202
Dear Nicole

So sorry to read this message, I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you at this time and hoping you have a good support system during this difficult time.

Big hugs,
Debbie, wife of Mike age 58, diagnosed RAEB 2 April 2010. Initial blast count somewhere between 10-15% then 20% after two treatments of Dacogen. Completed induction therapy 8/2/2010. BMB 8/31/10 - 4% blasts. SCT 10/1/2010. Relapsed in 10/2014, second transplant from same donor on 12/31/2014.
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Old Fri May 18, 2012, 01:46 AM
milliken2 milliken2 is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Ellwood City, PA. U.S.A.
Posts: 163
Good Luck to Both of You

I am very sorry to hear of your husband's relapse. With any type of cancer - your immune system is compromised, and generally more at risk for any type of infection. It might be a good idea to get some of those anti-microbial paper masks. I know how hard it is to get a guy to wear them - I argue with Earl every time he has to go to the Dr.'s or hospital - but he listens and usually wears them for his own safety. Let's face it - hospitals and Dr.'s offices are full of germs that may be any MDS patient's downfall. I have been told by 3 Dr.'s that it is not the MDS or Leukemia that does the most harm - it is the secondary infection. As with all patients - you need to keep him hydrated. How is his appetite? I know that Earl's has gone way dowhill since this first started. He is on the Dacogen therapy - but has only had 2 courses of it - and we are told that it takes between 4-6 to see if it works. One Dr told me he had 5 months - another one said 18 - so we are in limbo - and he is still getting weekly blood transfusions and sometimes platelets.
Is your husband on any Procrit or Aranesp injections? They are supposed to help build all types of blood cells - and even though Earl's levels are most always low, the Dr. wants him to continue the Procrit injections since the chemo bottoms him out.
Also - where is his hemoglobin level, B-12. iron (ferritin), copper, & zinc? May need to add some supplements to help build him up - but of course, check with your Dr. first.
I know how hard it is to be the caregiver - and watch the one you love. Again, good luck to both of you.
Beth - R.N., B.S.N and wife of recently diagnosed husband who has been classified at stage 4 MDS. and I can't help the one I love the most.
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