In addition to checking off daily medications a patient's numbers must be at certain levels in order for procedures to take place. Dante's numbers were measured on Monday at the Jimmy Fund Clinic and came back with results that allowed us to move forward. To end the second, or Induction Phase, he would have a lumbar puncture, bone marrow aspirate and bone marrow biopsy. The results of these tests would then lead us to the third phase, Consolidation 1.
On Tuesday we came back to the Jimmy Fund for Dante's procedures. They went well and as planned we were admitted back to Children's Hospital. It was a long night as we waited for the results. Just before the doctors' daily rounds we were told that two of the three tests results were back and they showed no signs of leukemia in his blood. The 1st test measured the antibody complex of the spinal fluid, the second took a look at the marrow under a microscope. The results of these two tests meant that Dante was now considered to be in remission! I could have kissed the doctor as she gave us the news. I think we were all holding back tears as she went on to further explain the third test that measures for leukemia cells at a molecular level. The results of this test will take 2-3 weeks. At the moment we are overjoyed with the current results and will focus on any changes, if they become necessary, as they are brought to us.
What does "remission" mean? Remission is the point after treatment begins when there are no longer signs of leukemia cells in the body. It does not mean that there are not still cells lingering in the blood. After remission is reached a period of maintenance chemotherapy is given. Without this additional chemotherapy relapse will almost always occur.
What is the next step for Dante? Dante will start a 24 hour dose of chemotherapy this afternoon. This treatment begins the Consolidation 1 phase. This phase will end when there are no traces of the chemo in his blood. He will remain in the hospital for anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks after the chemo is complete while they flush his system with fluids. After Consolidation 1 we will move on to the next phase. In total we expect his treatment to last approximately two years.
Today was a GIANT step for Dante. We are so proud of him. He's sitting here next to me as I type hooked up to his IV pump as if nothing in the world is important but his new favorite movie (Wreck it Ralph) and what's on the menu for dinner. Such a brave boy! We have a long road ahead but today's news brought with it a much needed good day. We will take it, and we look forward to many more.
Thank you so much for all of your words of love and support.
Sending love from Children's,
- Audrey, David, Dante & Rocco (who is sleeping like an angel at Grammy's house)