You must be so bored with this. If you are bored, just stare at this picture I took the other morning rather than reading the below explanation for my dad's condition / situation and the treatment plan.
Today my dad's blood work looks good tomorrow he will move to rehab. After about ten days, he will be discharged - kneeless - and go home to hang out in the cast and hang out on the walker for a couple of months. Then, provided that two months goes uneventfully, he will go back to Charlotte and get some new fake knee parts installed.
You might be wondering where the leukemia fits into any of this. It doesn't. And that is where it gets difficult to explain. His knee doctor has no interest in that part of my dad's issues. When he heard my dad's story of not dying nearly as many times as all the rest of the scientists predicted, the doctor said, "Eh," and contacted an oncology team to review my dad's file and consult with the nursing staff about blood work and medication. My dad has never met these people. So far they have stayed away, presumably because on the cancer front, things are quiet.
So is my dad in remission? We don't know. But for a guy who had full blown AML almost a year ago - and has had no treatment for that issue whatsoever - we almost have to assume that he has either a) been in remission at some point or b) that his leukemia is for some reason lazy and ineffective at doing its job (which is killing people, essentially).
We all generally agree that at least once in the last 12 months, spontaneous remission has occurred. The information out there about this phenomenon is spotty at best - so few people get this break that the data is not all that helpful. From what I can tell, it is:
3) always welcome
My dad is in a unique position, however. In September, his blood work and bone marrow confirmed full blown recurrent AML - and yet he just didn't die. When he showed up at the hospital six weeks ago - very much alive with his troublesome knee infection - they tested his blood again and said, "Gee, you still have leukemia." And then they refused to treat the knee on the theory that he has an expiration date of less than two months.
Except five weeks later when the infection was so gross that it appeared to be life-threatening, my dad simply rejected the idea of dying of a knee infection and went to another hospital, where the people were more receptive to the idea that my dad's life (and leg) were worth trying to save. So now six weeks and a major surgery later, aside from being seriously inconvenienced by his lack of a knee, my dad appears to be, um, just fine.
The official family approved explanation for this is: God (and Jesus) have the last word on when it is time to turn the lights out on my dad, and with so many people of all sorts praying for my dad's recovery, God (and Jesus) have been so busy listening to all that noise that they are simply too overwhelmed to hit the switch on the main generator with my dad's name on it.
Is there a medical explanation that works? Sort of. People who have AML and magically do not die are rare, but the people who get this special break usually have a few things in common. They are:
1) A strong primary relationship with a loving spouse.
2) History of staff infection - the uglier, the better
3) Strong faith and desire to live
4) Chronically depressed, ill-mannered, sarcastic, middle-aged children with bad hair and serious daddy issues.
My uncle is himself a scientist (as is my dad) and he has friends who study leukemia. Their opinion is that my dad's immune system has been stimulated by this knee infection and that the very busy life being led by the immune system is having an anti-leukemic affect. Way back when this Season of Badness started, my dad's oncologist did mention that a good wholloping mouthful of infectious disease is actually a good thing, so long as the patient survives it.
So there is our explanation. Jesus if you like, germs if you don't. But certainly your prayers - plus my poor mental health and my sarcasm - are doing their part as well.