Left Shift

Do you know what a left shift is?  It's not a step in the Hokey Pokey I'll tell you that much.

I got the written pathology reports from Seattle yesterday.  If you remember from a couple of posts ago, the nurse told me other than cellularity issues and the fact that Sam had normal telomeres , Shelbie had abnormal and Spencer wasn't tested, everything was fine.  ( I think that was just the world's biggest run on sentence hope you got all that.)

Well, I'm not sure what report that nurse was looking at but all is not fine!  Yes, the boys cellularity has dropped about 10% in a year.  Their marrow now appears to be functioning at just 20%.  Shelbie is at 30%.

Interestingly, Sam's telomere report is flagged as 'low'.  Low is not the same as 'normal' at least where I come from.  AND....imagine my surprise to see a telomere report on Spencer!!  They did do a telomere study and he too is flagged as 'low'.  Hmmmm, what in the world?!!

Now it starts getting really crazy...Spencer's report says that his marrow is 'Left Shifted'.  What that means is that there are more immature blood cells than mature cells. For some reason, often due to major infection, the body is being signaled to send out lots of new blood cells to fight but they never get a chance to mature either because of serious infection or bad cells like leukemia taking up the space meant for healthy cells.  This is a relatively serious condition and I am pretty bugged that the nurse didn't address this with me. It helps fill in the missing pieces since his white count has been abnormally high lately and his monocytes have been really high as well when we test his peripheral blood.  Abnormalities usually show up in the marrow first and it takes awhile for things to show in the peripheral blood but it's there.  sigh!

The other startling news is that Shelbie and Spencer had what is called Hemosiderosis.  It's an overload of a certain iron protein that is disease causing and usually caused from internal bleeding.  It is the left over protein from iron that the body is trying to destroy.  It's confusing but iron overload is not a good thing and can limit the opportunity for bone marrow transplant!

This has all come as a great surprise and now I'm left to sort all this out.  Very frustrating!!  Now, the name of the game is trying to keep my cool, be patient and hope that my faith will be strengthened as I prepare to let go of Spencer in just 6 weeks!  Life is hard, some days, harder than I imagined!



  1. 6 weeks?! wow, that's not far away! So with the Hemosiderosis....are they bleeding internally somewhere? or is this just happening? either way, sounds scary. Hope it is something that can be reversed so they won't be limited for transplant.


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