Platelets are tiny cells produced by the bone marrow to help your blood clot in the event of a cut or scrape. A decreased platelet count is called thrombocytopenia.There are a number of possible causes of thrombocytopenia.These include a disorder of the immune system in which antibodies kill platelets (known as idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP), hypersplenism, in which an enlarged spleen destroys more platelets than normal, and suppression of the bone marrow (the only site where platelet  precursors are made), because it is heavily infiltrated with CLL. Platelets tend to be the first to start dropping precipitously when CLL progresses. Haematologists see platelets below 100 as the criteria for upgrading the CLL to Binet stage C (or Rai Stage-4) and a cause for starting treatment.

My current platelet count is 60, and my doctor and I are talking about starting chemotherapy in Jan. 2012. It has been below 100 since Feb. 2011 but all of my other counts have been very good, so I am thankful that I have not had to start chemo until now. I am also hoping that when I get my blood counts in Jan. 2012, they may have gone up. My doctor is really good, he just doesn’t jump because of numbers, he looks at everything, including how I currently feel, and what I think.

Latest news from LLS – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been aware of the cancer drug shortages, particularly those impacting patients with blood cancer, since the matter first emerged last fall. LLS has been in contact with the FDA to express concern and keep abreast of the agency’s actions and efforts to remedy the situation.  Among the drugs on the shortage list that are used for blood cancer therapy are Daunorubicin, Dexamethasone, Doxorubicin and Vincristine.  Cytarabine, a drug used to treat several types of leukemia and lymphoma, had also been on the shortage list.  However, it is important to note that on October 20, 2011, the FDA announced that two of the three primary U.S. suppliers of Cytarabine are now reporting good supply and the third is working to increase supply.

Legislation to help address drug shortages has been introduced in the House and Senate, but has not moved to the floor for consideration since its introduction earlier this year.  It is LLS’s hope that the Administration’s actions will put pressure on Congress to take action on that pending legislation.  LLS advocates can also help by visiting LLS’s Advocacy Center and urging their members of Congress to support the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act now!

We want to hear from you!  Have you or a loved one been affected by these or other drug shortages?  How have they affected your care?  How might you benefit from the President’s Executive Order?

FAITH – In spite of the fact Jesus has promised to identify himself with us and us with him in order to give us a true sense of worth, there are many other things we have learned to depend on for our personal security and significance. Before we are old enough to abstractly conceive that there is a God at all, let alone one who loves us and gave his life for us,  we have all been conditioned to trust in ourselves, others, and our circumstances to make us worthy. As small children we learn to trust in our own performance to make us significant in this life. We also learn to depend on the approval of significant others to tell us we are loved, and, therefore, secure.

These early learning experiences make it very difficult to later believe Jesus is the one who makes us secure and significant. The multitudes turned away, and walked no more with Jesus (John 6:66) because they were not willing to believe that he could satisfy their personal needs by himself. When Jesus refused to give them another “free lunch,” they, thinking only physically in their natural, pre-conditioned ways, could see nothing Jesus had to offer to get their needs met.

Each of us fight the same kind of battle today. When we honestly ask ourselves what we depend on for our worth (i.e. security and/or significance) we also find that we have been conditioned from birth to trust everything and everyone but Jesus. In our natural condition, what Jesus has to offer does not make any sense to us either. For instance, suppose I bought a Lotto ticket, and won ninety million dollars. The money I would have won would generate a false sense of security as people begin to say they “love” me, they “accept” me, and they “forgive” me for any wrongdoing. Likewise, I might develop a false sense of significance as I enjoyed a new sense of “importance,” “purpose,” and “power” in my money. All my conditioning in this world’s value system would tell me that I am. Trusting Jesus, rather than ninety million dollars for my worth, would be a great deal easier to say than to do.

The factor that allows us to develop, and maintain a healthy sense of personal worth, is simply faith in our union with Christ. The reality is, as far as God is concerned, only those who are “in Christ” or “one with Christ” have any real worth as persons.

For this reason he sent his son Jesus to identify himself with us in our worthless condition of sin that we might identify ourselves in his worthy condition of righteousness. In Christ, we have all that is necessary to make us secure and significant. Apart from Christ we have nothing.

The only thing left for us to do is to believe. That is, we must choose to base our worth each day on our union with Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is by grace, through faith, that we are saved from eternal death (the condition we are already in because of our natural birth, and will stay in without being reborn from above).

It is also by grace through faith that we are saved from the personal death of worthlessness.