Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Training for a 5K

My knee is finally better! I've walked 16 laps around the floor today, which is a vast improvement over any day this week when the most laps I did was three total. I've also kicked the walker to the curb and am able to just hang on to my IV pole. I keep joking with the staff that I'm training for a 5k.

My morning was a little trying. Since I had the fevers a couple of times yesterday, I had sweated a lot in my bed and I smelled funky. But to take a shower, the nurse has to unhook me from the IV pole and wrap my PICC in plastic (press-n-seal saran wrap works best from what I hear). Unfortunately, my PICC line had done some funky twist in my chest and they weren't able to use it until it got fixed so I got stuck with an IV yesterday. Because the PICC line was compromised, I spent the morning waiting for the IV team to come by to fix it. After "power flushing" my line with a bunch of heparin, they realized it would just have to come out and be replaced. Not a bad process, but not fun either. I managed to get through it without any sedative. It's not painful (the numbing part hurts more). After they re-did the PICC (from my hospital bed, BTW) I had to wait to be transported for a chest x-ray to make sure they fixed it. After a while, I finally got down to the x-ray area and waited for the actual x-ray. By the time I got back upstairs to my room, it was nearly 11am.

I was still waiting for my shower. I had asked the nurse much earlier that morning if she could get me ready for the shower. A tech came in and wrapped up my PICC, but she wasn't allowed to unhook the IV so we had to wait for the nurse. I had my saran-wrap arm wrapped for two hours by then and was eager to get my shower. I knew the chemo was supposed to start at noon so I had a very small window to get my shower in, but I knew I could do it. Unfortunately, the nurse didn't come into my room until 11:50 so she started the chemo and I waited another hour. The good news was that my PICC was fixed so they could use it again (which means tomorrow morning's blood draw should be a LOT easier). I finished that chemo and they had to flush the line and do some other things, but I finally got unhooked from the IV and into the SHOWER!! Hallelujah! The angels sang and the stench lifted! Since I still have my hair for now it felt great to wash it.

I just did the math on my baldness (typically +16 days after chemo), I should be bald by Halloween. Paint me orange and put a tiny green "stem" hat on me and call me the Great Pumpkin! I could have some fun with this. :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Houston, We Have Arrived

I saw Dr. Wallmark on October 8th and based on the results of my blood work, he called the doctor at MD Anderson to express his concern that things were "heating up". After they talked, Dr Wallmark said I had an appointment with MD Anderson on the 12th and he suggested I take it. We spent the weekend packing up our stuff, dealing with what to do with our tenants, and figuring out who would take care of Shelby and Riley. It was a rough weekend and so hard to say goodbye to the boys. We left on Monday and arrived late at Mike's Aunt Valerie and Uncle Steven's house. I had another bone marrow biopsy on Tuesday and the news was worse than I thought - my blasts, which had previously been at 5%, had jumped to 20% and I was diagnosed with leukemia. I met with the leukemia team on Thursday and they admitted me on Friday. I started the first 5-day treatment on Saturday as an inpatient. If things go well, I may not need another round so we'll see.

It's been rough since I arrived. My knee started aching the weekend before I left and it got worse with the plane ride on the way down to the point where I had a hard time walking. Mike pushed me out of the airport in a wheelchair. When we finally got admitted late Friday night, Mike had to push me again in a wheelchair through the long, winding halls of the hospital with a small suitcase in tow. The first night, we didn't get any sleep between the PICC installation at 1am, the chest x-ray at 2am, and the usual rounds of vital signs at all hours. They wanted to start the chemo at 4am, but Mike begged them to reconsider and they relented. Despite that, we still barely got any sleep but at least we got more than we would have. They were then supposed to start chemo at 6am but then changed it to 9am.

Since then, I've had a few rough spots here and there. Because my knee was hurting so bad, they gave me morphine in my IV line and I threw up my smoothie about 30 minutes later. No more morphine for me! I took a pill form of morphine with no problems. I had someone from physical therapy come in and give me stretches and a walker to I could walk. My knee finally started to feel better yesterday and I've had a couple of setbacks but it's a vast improvement from where I was. I've run a couple of fevers today and felt crappy from it, but I'm doing better right now. This morning was also rough - my mom asked if I wanted toast for breakfast and I threw up in the trash can. I finally nibbled on crackers and felt better. Oh, and one of the chemo drugs gave me a HUGE headache yesterday which caused me to throw up too. Today they gave me some meds before the chemo to prevent the headache and it worked.

I did get some great news today. They found a 9/10 donor match who agreed to do the match. They're going to run some additional tests to make sure we're a good match but I'm relieved to have found someone. We're waiting for the test results of my cousins to see if any of them are also a match. A related half-match is better than an unrelated match - but I have options!