I received my PCR test result today... There were no blood cells that showed the chromosome mutation that is the hallmark feature of APL. That means I am still in remission!!! The PCR test is more precise than the FISH test I had after my hospital stint, so the favorable result is a huge relief.
It feels counterintuitive that I have to continue a drug treatment program if I'm in remission. According to the doctors, the goal of the treatment is to prevent a relapse. My plan is based on the survivorship results of a series of clinical trials. Even though I'm considered in remission, there could be a few cancerous cell lurking in my bone marrow. It only takes one bad cell to spoil the bunch. The drugs are designed to kill any lingering rotten cells.
I will continue to have PCR tests periodically. Each one will get me closer to the five year mark, at which time I will be considered to be in complete remission. But that's a long way away. I need to celebrate this victory with another piece of chocolate cake. One step at a time. Actually, the counter with the cake on it is ten feet away, so the next five steps will be taken very quickly...
Thank you again to everyone who's been so supportive of our family this year. If it weren't so logistically challenging, I would send each of you a piece of the cake.