In most of life’s situations, a negative result is generally bad. Not so for an MRD test. We’ve had Fabian’s result back and he is MRD negative which confirms there is now no detectable trace of leukaemia in his marrow – a clear answer to my prayer request last entry. This MRD is also a better result than the one 2 months ago, indicating that the disease has continued to respond to chemo and the transplant. This is more of a relief than a surprise and it keeps us on track for the T-cell infusion at the end of the month – the real cure. The two other children presently in the trial have sadly had their transplants fail and can therefore no longer continue with it so I guess all researchers’ eyes will now be on ‘fighting Fabian’. Confirmation also that he has fully engrafted and maintained the minimum neutrophil count long enough for doctors to downgrade his isolation restrictions from red to yellow (think DefCon rating). This was great news for Fabian who was immediately on the phone to tell us excitedly that he’s going to be free. Once they disconnected his meds he was out the room like a shot and into the corridor, accosting hapless passers by with tales of his captivity. It’s good to see him so cheered up, even more so the next day when Ben and Cassia visited and were able to hug their brother for the first time in over 6 weeks (Cassia took a dozen snaps to record the occasion!). All that remains is for him to be self-sustaining in food and fluids and to this end we are likely to agree for a ‘PEG’ to be inserted in his stomach. This is rather like a valve through which he can be fed and is an alternative to the naso-gastric tube which he so hates. The GvHD has also receded though he’ll remain on steroids for awhile to combat the continuing temps.
On a less sanguine note, I well remember the same scenario 18 months ago following the first transplant when hopes were high. We are not kidding ourselves that we are out of the woods by any means but we do rejoice with you who also rejoice for each step he makes towards being cancer-free.