Monday, August 28, 2006

19. Hit The Road

Pedal For Scotland - Mhairi, Bob and I; Me on Bike; Heading off to Edinburgh from Glasgow
Berlin - Kas at Brandenburg Gate; Kas and I @ Gendarmenmarkt

On the odd occasion, I have found that the saying 'no news means good news' can be a fairly true statement. With my increasing energy levels, not so pasty white skin (scottish summer) and my blood results getting better each time, I was keeping my fingers crossed to hear that the wonder drug Gleevec is finally getting through to my dodgy cells and giving me some PCR and Bone Marrow results to be happy with.

After a brief chat with the Professor, she explained my latest results to me...the 9 month tests I have been waiting 4 weeks for! Good news is that my PCR results have dipped from 7% at 6 months, 5% shortly after that and now down to a nice 1.5%...I've cracked the 2% mark we were aiming for! Then we got into the bone marrow results. As you can imagine I was very stoked to hear that it is now undetectable...this test only tests about 20 cells and when I was diagnosed last October, I was Philadelphia positive (or 100% Leukaemia cells). So it's very good news to hear that I am now negative and have achieved what's called 'cytogenic remission'. This sort of result will give the docs a much better understanding of the disease and a much greater chance of survival and remaining in remission...

This good news comes on the back of me completing my Glasgow to Edinburgh bike ride yesterday - Leukaemia Research's 'Pedal for Scotland'. The day was quite a nice to start with when I woke, closed the curtains to get changed and within minutes it was bucketing down. This set the tone for the whole day; 4 seasons in 1 hour - literally! We (Mhairi's dad Bob, Mhairi, Col's sister Suzie and I) set off across the bonny country from George Square in Glasgow and 3 and 1/2 hours later, we were resting our sore arses in a park behind Murrayfield Stadium with thousands of other mad cyclists. It was just good to relax after the big trek and munch on a piece of fruit that Col organised for everyone - he struck a deal with Waitrose to provide a banana for everyone doing the ride. It's huge effort and it's something I know Leukaemia Research were very pleased with. Not sure what he did in return though.

The only silly thing that happened that day (very silly) was on the way back home...

With Julie, Mhairi, Kas and I in the car cruising back to Glasgow, I noticed that mine and Mhairi's bikes were bouncing more than usual on the bike carrier. After 10 miles into the trip, I was taking a quick glance in the mirror and only noticed only one bike on the back of the bike - holy shit! I was in the right lane, veered across to the left and screeched to a halt on the hard shoulder. Unbelievably the second bike was just dangling precariously on the back, clinging onto the other by a tiny bike chain. I had only wrapped the bike chain around them both when we went for lunch in case someone tried to knock them off - now one was hanging one the back, ready to drop. We could only imagine what would of happened on a busy motorway yesterday if it wasn't for a few links of metal. Gotta laugh though and thank the bike gods for looking down on us...

Berlin was a much needed break last week with Kas. It was a fairly quite getaway - milling around the Berlin Wall, wandering the capital's streets and munching plenty of stodgy German food. I wouldn't imagine it's a haven for vegetarians...meat and more meat, sauerkraut and potatoes. Love it!

Now it's back to keeping focused on keeping fit - mentally as much as physically, to keep ahead of this dodgy disease. I will now be talking to the docs about my transplant options and what the latest results mean for me in regards to treatment. Good news is that the next phase of CML drugs are going through licensing, giving people with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia a few more options.

Thanks for all the comments and emails, keeping them rolling...

(Happy Birthday to my bro Nick - happy 30th mate!)


Anonymous said...

Hey big man, fab news on pcr results..see you both soon :-) love neenx

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt

Congratulations on the bike ride!

I too was diagonosed with CML (March 2004) and have been on Glivec since.

I am currently at the undetectable stage (4 log reduction) and hopefully you can meet me their too one day.

I am currently training for a couple of short course triathlons in Australia.

Good luck

(dx March 04)