May 2014 Update

May 22, 2014 3 comments

I have reached a milestone of 42 months without medication or treatment and 5 years since I was first diagnosed with ET. However, I still do visit my Hematologist every 6 months to monitor my platelets as a precaution.

A healthy diet, healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and stress management have been my regular mindset for the past few years now and I hope that might have helped.

With advanced technology and research these days, I do hope that the future is bright for ET patients seeking for a permanent treatment and cure for this rare blood disorder.

Video: Story of a group of patients with blood cancers essential thrombocythemia, myelofibrosis and polycythemia, collectively known as myeloproliferative neoplasms and efforts from MPN Research Foundation.

Pushing MPN Research Forward from MPNRF on Vimeo.


Anagrelide vs Hydroxyurea

March 10, 2013 51 comments

According to an article that I’ve read on the internet, both treatments either  anagrelide or hydroxyurea have no significant difference between them. This research was done with a group of patients and the study was recorded and registered at the U.S. National Institutes of Health as #NCT01065038

Based on the research, Anagrelide as the selective platelet lowering agent is not inferior compared to hydroxyurea in preventing thrombotic complications in patients. More details on the article can be found from the following source below.




I Love my Beans

August 6, 2012 7 comments

Statistics shows that coffee is considered as the most popular beverage worldwide with over 400 billion cups consumed each year. There are many articles that we could attain through the Internet these days. There has beem many pros and cons about the consumption of coffee and its effect on our health. I’ve gathered here some of the articles around the Internet that promotes the benefits of coffee to our health.

Coffee can clear the cobwebs from your head. In a recent Swedish study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers determined that insulin sensitivity improves in direct correlation with coffee consumption. For each cup you drink daily, you decrease your risk of insulin resistance 16 percent. A separate study found that men who drank regular coffee daily significantly reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes.

A cup of jave —both caffeinated and decaf—contains a host of antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, which prevents the oxidation of bad cholesterol. (Learn Which Is Best: Coffee or Tea?)
How to drink it: Espresso, Americano—order whatever you like. Just take it easy on the sugar and whip.

Trying to kick the coffee habit? If you want to live longer, you might want to rethink giving up your three daily cappuccinos. A new study found that drinking coffee could lower your risk of death.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health gathered information from 229,119 men and 173,141 women who were part of the AARP Diet and Health Study, making this the largest study of coffee.
After 13 years, men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower chance of dying, compared to men who didn’t drink coffee. Women who drank the same amount had a 13 percent decreased risk.
Coffee drinkers also had a lower risk of dying from specific diseases, such as respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, as well as injuries and accidents. The risk of dying from cancer, however, was not lower for women who drank coffee, and was slightly higher for male coffee drinkers.
The current study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tried to overcome some of the shortcomings of the previous research. This included taking into account the fact that many coffee drinkers also smoke tobacco, which tends to increase the risk of death.
While this is the largest study to examine the benefits of coffee, more research is needed to determine whether coffee can directly help people live longer.
The beneficial results seen in the study, however, were true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. This makes that afternoon trip to the coffee shop a little more enjoyable.

How would it help for Essential Thrombocythemia patient? So far, I am unable to locate any official article about benefits of Coffee to ET patients. But, I always agree with the saying that take all good things in moderate.

Categories: Health and Lifestyle Tags:

May 2012 update

May 5, 2012 9 comments

It has been more than 18 months now that I have not been on any medication. My visit to the hematologist last week was a positive one. My platelet levels are within the the normal level which was such a relief. I have been maintaining a healthy lifestyle (exercise at least twice a week – gym or swimming), eat regular meals/healthy diet and managing my stress level.
One other interesting area that I would like to share is that I take freshly brewed coffee every morning. There were studies in the past shows that too much of caffeine intake could harm our body. However, recent studies seemed to prove otherwise. This is an interesting topic that I would like to work on some research of my own to weight the impact of coffee intakes and it’s affects to our human body.
I will share my findings and opinions in my next post.

MPN Patient Symposium by MPN Research Foundation on Thursday, May 17, 2012

April 17, 2012 Leave a comment


MPN Research Foundation is organizing a symposium for Patients and caregivers at San Matteo California. Attendees will hear the most recent news on MPN research, clinical trials and treatment practices by these distinguished physicians and researchers.

Dr. Jason Gotlib, Stanford University Medical Center
“JAK Inhibitors in Myelofibrosis: What We Know and Don’t Know”

Dr. Ross Levine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
“Insights from Genetic Studies of MPNs”

Dr. Ruben Mesa, Mayo Clinic – Scottsdale
“Overcoming Your MPN”

Dr. Laura Michaelis, Loyola University Medical Center
Topic to be determined

Details can be found at
Register yourself with the newsletter from the MPN Research Foundation website to receive informative news and updates from the MPN research and community.

Thrombocytosis Diagnosis – Algorithm

March 31, 2012 11 comments

I found this very informative online site that provides the algorithm to diagnose PV, ET and Other MPN.

Diagnosis is done through Blood tests and/or Bone Marrow Biopsy.

Bone Marrow Biopsy

June 22, 2011 11 comments

I’ve been wanting to share my experience with Bone Marrow Biopsy procedure since I underwent it last year (2010). Hope that this gives an overall picture on how the procedure works and why I went for the biopsy.


Image Source: Mayo Clinic

I underwent a Bone Marrow Biopsy early last year 2010 as part of a diagnosis to identify the root cause of my platelet escalation more than a million platelets per microliter of blood (normal person’s platelet count: between 150,000 to 400,000 platelets per microliter of blood). My hematologist calls me a “Millionaire”… a millionaire platelet patient.

In order to identify the issue for the sudden elevation of platelets, I would need to undergo a Bone Marrow Biopsy procedure. This is to rule out the common issue that may have caused the elevation like inflamation or infection in any parts of my body. However, I do not have any apparent infection or inflamation that could be determined as I looked healthy from the outside. The only thing that I was experiencing was a high fever due to high platelets.

Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. In humans, bone marrow in large bones produces new blood cells. On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans; in adults weighing 65 kg (143 lbs), bone marrow accounts for approximately 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs). The bone marrow produces the cellular elements of the blood, including platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells.

The bone marrow biopsy sounded like a complex process, but I was assured that it is safe and its the best way to diagnose and eliminate a number of conditions, including leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, anemia, and pancytopenia. I was at the Medical Center in the morning, registered, checked-in and prepare myself for the biopsy. Right before noon, the biopsy was performed by my Hematologist. I was adminster with medication to relax myself prior to the procedure. It was then performed on the back of my hipbone, whereby I need to lie on my side to allow the insertion of the needle into my hip bone. I felt a sting and a slight burning sensation when the numbing medicine is applied. I felt pressure gaining on my hip as the needle is inserted into the bone. Then I experienced a sharp, stinging and sucking sensation as the marrow is removed. This feeling lasts for only a few moments before I passed out and slept due to the earlier medication that I took.

I woke up a few hours later. Overall, the procedure was a success. I could only feel a pressure at the back of my hip and was wrapped with a bandage around my waist. It was quite an experience and if performed properly you will not feel much pain and complication.

* Please ensure that you consult your Doctor or Hematologist if you need to undergo this procedure. Your Doctor or Hematologist will advice if this is necessary.

The following video (that I found on the web) gives an overview on how Bone Marrow biopsy procedure is performed generally and its similar to how it was performed on me.


Categories: General ET

Recommended Lifestyle for ET Patients by Mayo Clinic

March 25, 2011 4 comments

I tried searching for lifestyles and diets for patients with ET. I came upon the following recommendations by Mayo Clinic.

Take extra care to reduce your risk of developing blood clots if you have essential thrombocythemia. Healthy lifestyle habits can lower your risk of developing conditions that may contribute to blood clotting. These conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Take steps to:

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose a varied diet rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits and low in saturated fats. Try to avoid trans fats. Learn about portion control to maintain a normal weight.
  • Increase your physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
  • Achieve or maintain normal weight. Being overweight or obese increases the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs and is a risk factor for conditions such as high blood pressure, which increases your risk of blood clotting.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking affects blood clotting and circulation.

If your ET increases your tendency to bleed, take extra precautions to keep from injuring yourself. Follow these suggestions:

  • Avoid playing contact sports or engaging in other activities that could be dangerous or could cause you to fall.
  • Use a softer toothbrush and waxed floss.
  • Avoid shaving cuts. Shave with an electric razor.
  • Be cautious with household tasks involving knives, scissors and other sharp tools.


Platelets Behaving…

March 20, 2011 4 comments

Updates for Mar 2011. I was so relief to find out from my latest count to be at 402. I am off any medication for the past 6 months. I kept asking my haematologist if I am cured since it has not been elevated for the past 6 months. His answer is unfortunately No. This is a blood disorder that has no cure and its currently hovering at that level for me. I was told that some patients are receptive on the medication that they were put on and show no symptoms for few months or even a year. But the platelet counts may escalate again in the near future. I just have to be on constant watchout and get myself tests for platelet counts every 2-3 months. I do hope that this will maintain for years to come or never again escalated to an alarming level. Could a healthy lifestyle, diet and constant exercise could somehow be a good combination? Whether it is a contribution or not, its always better to live with a positive lifestyle and hope for the best that someday medical science will find a cure.

Categories: Medical Updates

Platelet Counts – Normal

February 10, 2011 2 comments

My last examination on Jan 21st, 2011 produced positive results. My platelet counts was at normal level. After been taken off the Interferon alpha treatment for almost 6 months, my platelet counts were pretty stable. I am now currently under observation by my haematologist every 2-3 months to ensure that it is indeed stable. I did asked my haematologist if there is any possibility that I was misdiagnosed since my platelet counts were stable and have not been elevated for about six months now. He confirmed and no doubt that I am suffering from this ET blood disorder. According to him, it is possible for certain patients that the platelets will be stable at a certain time and “might” elevate again later on. Hence, I will be put on observations once every 2-3 months.

It has been a year now and this month (Feb) marks the anniversary of my diagnosis last year in 2010. I do hope that my condition will stabilise and maintain the current positive outlook for years to come.

I just came back from a 10-day trip to Kolkata and Varanasi (India). My visit gave me a broader perspective of life and allow me to understand how fortunate we are living in a developed nation with proper healthcare, good living conditions, proper infrastructure, clean air and water, good transportation and governance. Living conditions in these places that I’ve visited in 10 days could be better. Poverty, cleanliness and hygiene are still an issue to be curbed and I do hope that the nation will take them seriously. I do hope that the nation will have a long-term plan to address these issues.

– Bryan –

Categories: Medical Updates