Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

3/4/16 – Over the almost 8 years I have been on this MCL journey I have had and many discussions with medical people. There are times the discussions are short and sweet… There are times when the discussions are long and detailed and informative… and then there are times when you are getting a long explanation on how good everything is, knowing full well that something else is coming. You can just tell that your medical friend is trying to come up with the correct words that follow the “BUT”.
Well this kind of happened with me today as we reviewed the results of my bone marrow biopsy. I heard that there were no signs of lymphoma, that my platelet production was good. I even was told that 19 of my chromosomes were normal… which was followed by BUT we need to discuss the 20th chromosome. I was then told that this chromosome is showing signs of a per-leukemia disorder known as Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
Here is some information I found on MDS:
WHAT IS MDS?Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”. MDS is primarily a disease of the elderly (most patients are older than age 65), but MDS can affect younger patients as well. To help you better understand MDS, it might be helpful to first consider some basics about bone marrow and blood. The bone marrow functions as a factory that manufactures three kinds of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Healthy bone marrow produces immature blood cells — called stem cells, progenitor cells, or blasts — that normally develop into mature, fully functional red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In MDS, these stem cells may not mature and may accumulate in the bone marrow or they may have a shortened life span, resulting in fewer than normal mature blood cells in the circulation.
WHAT CAUSES MDS?Radiation and chemotherapy for cancer are among the known triggers for the development of MDS. Patients who take chemotherapy drugs or who receive radiation therapy for potentially curable cancers, such as breast or testicular cancers, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, are at risk of developing MDS for up to 10 years following treatment. MDS that develops after use of cancer chemotherapy or radiation is called “secondary MDS” and is usually associated with multiple chromosome abnormalities in cells in the bone marrow.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MDS?In the early stages of MDS patients may experience no symptoms at all. A routine blood test may reveal a reduced red cell count, or low hematocrit, sometimes along with reduced white cell and/or reduced platelet counts. On occasion, the white cell and platelet counts may be low while the hematocrit remains normal. However, some patients, particularly those with blood cell counts well below normal, experience definite symptoms.
It is very interesting to learn a cause of MDS is having had chemotherapy. In addition it does make me wonder if the MDS is the reason I really never fully responded to all the treatments for ITP. It certainly seems to impact platelet counts.
As a result of today’s new findings I will be meeting with leukemia doctors at The John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center on Monday, March 7th. In addition I will be back on Tuesday, March 8thfor a possible IVIG and platelets being I still need to be treated for my ITP.
So now what? Sure, I could feel sorry for myself and say “Why Me?” But saying that, Why not me? I am a strong positive faithful person. I just know I can get through this with the love and grace of God. I am committed to use this new bump in my road as an opportunity worship and praise God… which does make me think of the many great songs on praising God through adversity. Here a link to an awesome live version of Casting Crowns-"Praise You In This Storm". Enjoy!
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.James 1:12
More to come…

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