We are all familiar with Leukemia.  Even if we do not know someone who has it, we have heard of the disease.  As defined in medical dictionaries, Leukemia is a disease “in which unrestrained proliferation of white blood cells occurs…”.  But what most people don’t realize is that the term Leukemia is used to refer to “any of several cancers of the bone marrow that prevent the normal manufacture of red and white blood cells and platelets, resulting in anemia, 
increased susceptibility to infection, and impaired blood clotting.”

So, while ET is not THE Leukemia that we are all familiar with, it is a blood leukemia.  You can also hear Dr. Mesa, from the Mayo Clinic, mention ET as a blood leukemia in this video. When I try to explain to people what ET is, I’ve tried using this reference.  Sometimes it helps, sometimes it causes more confusion.  If I go on to explain the second definition of Leukemia, then it makes sense to people, and can be a helpful way to explain the disease.  Usually I just say, “it’s a blood leukemia, but it affects my platelets instead of my white blood cells.”

It was just something bouncing around in my head, so I thought I’d mention it.  Sometimes it can make things clearer (and easier to explain), but I can imagine it also can be a scary term to use for someone recently diagnosed.  So I wanted to note the difference in definition, as well.


~ by julie70 on December 4, 2010.

3 Responses to “Leukemia?”

  1. Just found this website… it is very helpful for the newly diagnosed like myself. … Will be back to read and blog some.. when I am not so tired… LOL … and fatigue seems to be a common theme. THANK YOU for the initiative and time you spend on the creation and maintenance of this site. … June

  2. Hello again,
    When I had breast cancer people responded easier as they are educated & understand the basics of that cancer. I found it difficult to tell family and friends as it was too hard on me to settle their grief and pity. I’ve decided not to tell too many people about ET for the same reason. When I tried to explain …they looked at me blankly as if I were ‘making it up’ or ‘man up and you’ll get over it’ -as if I had a common cold! My parents are 85 so I won’t worry them.

    My husband completely understands and is so supportive because he was with me throughout the ET tests, results and the explaination from my Professor. He is all I need.

    I eventually asked my daughter (30) to sit at the computer and read about ET. She understood totally, she cried and I was then sorry to have put her through that and then had to explain that I wasn’t going to die, but I have to take tablets for the rest of my life and will live a normal life, well that’s what my Professor told me.

    I fought breast cancer and I’ll fight on with ET.
    I admit the breast cancer and radiation was far more frightening not knowing the outcome and I’ve got the all clear! Now most of the symtoms of ET are under contol – I’m going to live a long happy life with ET.
    Loving you from a distance
    Sydney Australia

  3. I have just found this blog and want to spend time reading through it. My son (6) has ALL and I am painfully aware of all the possibilities for his future. I am sure I will be commenting a great deal to support you. Cancer, leukemia, ET, etc…stink! I also have some expereince with the lack of understanding with the lesser known illnesses…my mother has Lupus which usually gets ignored back in England where she lives. Even our family often feels she should stop complaining as she ‘looks’ fine.

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