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My 46 y/o husband was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia(CLL) back in 2005(right before our wedding). Up until today, we were in the "watch-and-wait" mode, going to the oncologist every 3 months for blood work and every 6 months for CT scans. He also had a bone marrow biopsy & aspiration done once, about a year ago.

Well, today's visit was anything but "normal". For starters, my husband's WBC count dropped, from 54000 all the way to 37000. I realize these jumps & dives are typical for CLL, but his count has never gone down more than 2000-3000 at a time. On the contrary, it did jump 18000 at one of the last 2 visits, prior to today. Second, while listening to my husband's heart, the doctor seemed to take extra, extra, extra, extra, extra looooonnnnnngggggggg. When he finally stopped, he made a brief comment about detecting an irregular heartbeat and then moved on as if nothing was wrong. My husband has never had any cardio issues before, so the comment by the doctor set off bells in both our heads.

But here's the most concerning part of the visit, and my true reason for posting: While checking my husband's lymph nodes and spleen today, the doctor became very concerned & alarmed when palpating my husband's spleen, stating "it's very, abnormally enlarged". According to the latest CT scan on file, which was done about 6 months ago, my husband's spleen was enlarged at that time, too. But it wasn't a significant enlargement or one that caused the doctor to be able to palpate it upon physical exam. So now he ordered for my husband to have CT & PET scans done this week. He also mentioned that my husband may have to start chemo(w/Fludorabine) ASAP, getting it every day for one week/month, as well as blood draws every day while on chemo.

Has the leukemia reached a "point-of-no-return"? How much time does my husband have? How serious is the splenomegaly? Will it get better? Worse? Will my husband need the chemo for the rest of his life, once it's starts? Will he have to be hospitalized every month while he's getting the chemo? Will he have to get a VAD, like a Med-port, PICC, or Hickman?

Thanks to anyone that replies and I'm sorry for all the questions & for "freaking out". I'm just a very scared wife right now........
Hi

My husband was diagnosed with AML in 2007 and it felt like the rug had been ripped from under my feet. He had lots and lots of chemo and a bone marrow transplant from a donor (his sister)- he is doing great now! I know our husbands diseases are not at all alike, but the only advise I can give you is as follows:

1) He is proberly just as scared as you so remember YOU NEED TO BE STRONG NOW!
2) He is going to be fine, and make it through this no matter what the diagnosis- the moment you stop believing this, you've lost already.
3) If he is going to spend alot of time in an oncology unit (Hospital) make friends with the staff, you'll be amazed how much they know and how incredibly dedicated they are.
4) If he does get Chemo, let me know.. I have loads of advise that could help make the process easier for both of you.

I know this is proberly not the advise you wanted because I am only familiar with Acute Myoloid Leukemia.. but I know how you feel :)
Its not an easy road but if your attitude is right, you're half way there I PROMISE YOU
Good Luck
Celeste





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