Monday, June 25, 2012
well, wasn't that little fever fun! The nurses were in here like all night and finally they put bags of ice cubes in my arm pits to get rid of it when all else failed. I was so exhausted that I slept about an hour that way and only woke up when my arm started cramping. It finally worked and by 10 am, my fever was all gone and I felt relatively decent. I keep telling people when I had a fever, I felt exactly the way you feel when you have strep throat and are waiting for the abx to kick in. Now, my throat is sore still, but I can eat chicken soup with rice and drink water so really life is just fine. When I was feeling good, I took a shower and a little while later my friend Karen came by from Home, Health and Hospice and went for a one mile walk with me, also bringing me a beautiful wooden pendant for my window and a lovely cherry tray.
Then Cara came to see me and we had a wonderful visit. I got to see pictures of her niece and she made sure I ate my dinner. We chatted about the misc stuff we always find to talk about and her cousin just happened to be working tonight in the MICU so she got a bonus visit in. My fever just barely came back this evening and now seems to have gone away so I'm hopeful for a good night. I'd like to avoid ice cubes in the arm pits, in particular.
My attending tells me that my counts are doing exactly what he would expect so that is good.
(trigger warning for morose topics for the next 3 paragraphs also for muddled embryonic thinking)
I noticed yesterday that I called it "my leukemia" for the first time when I was talking with one of the aids. I have been firmly thinking of it as a thing that has no real relation to me, that has been visited upon me but was able to consider it as mine yesterday. It is sort of a sad thing, this leukemia of mine, one way or another, its lifespan is quite limited. On top of that, it can have good consequences--like it can make me a better doctor and help me understand how many people there are in the world who love me, but really its whole oeuvre is destruction, spoilage, gumming up the works. It can't have very good self esteem.
Related to this, I've been reading and thinking a lot about the buddhist ideas of loving kindness and compassion. I've been trying to imagine being compassionate toward my leukemia and as you can see above, I can manage a little for its situation, but fact is, I have been, am and intend to continue to do things to kill it. That's not very compassionate.
In concert with that I've been thinking about how unlike the usual paths my mind takes thinking about getting rid of the leukemia is. It is rare for me to think in terms of destroying something; metaphors I use are more like maybe packaging it up in a plastic bag, disinfecting it, walling it off so it keeps out of trouble, not destroying, crushing, killing. In this case, walling it off or disinfecting it is not going to work, I need to be more definitive.
One of the many ways in which this has been an opportunity for personal growth.
(end trigger warning)
My white blood cell count is 0.3, my platelets are 63, my hemoglobin is 8.2 and my absolute neutrophil count is 30. All exactly as expected.
The next big event is my bone marrow biopsy on July 2. The whole purpose of this is to prove that my marrow has been killed off. We will be looking for an "empty marrow." Between now and then, we will treat fevers, keep my spirits up and eat chicken soup with rice.