Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 65 - more platelets at the NCCC

So, me and my leukemia's two month anniversary passed last week without fanfare. The leukemia was hoping we'd go out for a nice candlelit dinner, but instead, I spent the day attempting to scrape it out of my marrow like one would scrape gum off the bottom of one's shoe. It seems incredible that it has only been two months--two months and one week ago I thought I was a completely normal person and now I've had two rounds of chemo, a couple of nadir experiences and have learned a lot about being a patient and, thus, a doctor. It really is incredible to think about the before and the after. Terry got his last cup of coffee with a normal wife on June 15 in the morning and subsequent to that became a person who was married to a leukemic.

Today that leukemic and Emily went to the NCCC to check up on my blood. My liver/kidney labs are reported as all normal still (yeah!), my hemoglobin is holding steady at 10.3, my white count is steady at 0.45, and my neutrophil count is now 10! It was 0 last Thursday so this is a nice improvement although it has a way to go in that 500 is when I get to eat normal food again (yogurt, Bridge Cafe salad and pad thai being the most missed foods right now) and 3,000 is about normal. Once it starts coming back, however, it comes back really quickly so I'm hoping I'll be good for the weekend. My platelets were the big disappointment, however, at 6. I needed two more units. Once again, I had a four hour long benadryl fueled nap, but this time I had some other little surprises too. I think one of my units of platelets may not have been perfect for me because my temperature bounced all the way up to 100.6. Because I am at risk for infections, they cultured me up--two sticks for blood and urine, but we wrote it off to being caused by the platelets. I have had no fever since being home so I think that was a good call. I will keep checking however. Thank you, Emily, for driving me today!

I talked with Dr. Hill this evening and have great news. I don't have to go back to chemo jail until Sept 13. Ellie's birthday is Sept. 12 (9/12/01) and she wants me home for it. That means I either need chemo around Sept. 6 which is a little early or I have to wait until afterward. Waiting until afterward means I get to have an unexpected week of feeling good at home and that I get to be functional for her birthday. She said she didn't care if I was really tired as long as I was home, but I am sure she'll prefer having me energetic.

The other news is that we decided I would just get a port. Dr. Hill is not wild about ports because people with AML are prone to fevers and if I get a fever that we can't make go away, the port will have to come out (under the assumption that it would be a nidus for infection), but we decided it would be the easiest way to go since I seem to be doing really well in the fever department. He will get it scheduled the day I go back to chemo jail.

Gosh, you might be wondering what a port is. A port is a little implantable device that goes in a patient's (usually) chest, implanted by a surgeon or an interventional radiologist. One end of the port goes just under the skin and the other end is sewn into the side of a big vein. The end under the skin has a little rubber area that people who know what they are doing (usually nurses) can push a special device into and access the vein. This is nice for people who would normally get stuck over and over (like me) and because it goes to a big vein, it is convenient for putting chemo in as well.

You may have noted that Ellie was born the day after 9/11. I remember lying in bed on 9/11, 9.5 months pregnant and Terry telling me about it. My first thought was that I had misunderstood, it was some kind of horrible joke, and my second thought was that I hoped I didn't have the baby that day. I was quite happy to have her on 9/12. In a way, 9/11 is on of those events that changes everything suddenly and it seems meaningful that she was born right after it, rather than right before it--like she was part of the new world that was coming into being on that day. It was also nice to be able to call everyone up and say, "I've got great news! It's a girl and we're both doing fine!" More than one person commented how nice a change it was to hear some happy news.

Other news from me for today is that I walked 1.3 or so miles this evening and am going to bed now. Sweet dreams to all and to all a good night.

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