Archive for October, 2008

The R word

Peeking in the Cooler

Peeking in the Cooler

I know you are all dying to hear how my blood transfusion went. Well, it was a bloody long day. I was at the hospital from 9:30 -4:00 and got two units of blood. It started out with the nurse bringing me an Igloo cooler (that had the first bag of blood on ice) and saying “Here is your lunch, enjoy.” I almost threw up when she said that and then I kept staring at the cooler debating if I should take a look. So of course I had to look inside and there it was my bag of blood chillin.

That was really gross. It looked liked the leftover juices from raw meat in a nice packaged plastic bag. I have posted some pictures so you can enjoy them as well. I eventually got over the seeing the bag of blood and sat there for most of the day while this blood slowly entered my veins. Within a couple of days, I felt a million times better. It’s looking back now that I realize how weak I really was. I am glad that I went through that experience because I now know what to expect in the future.

Bag of Blood

Bag of Blood

On Monday, I had an appointment with my oncologist to talk about my latest PET Scan results. As of Oct 13, I am in remission! Yaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy! I have waited 12 months and 11 days to hear that wonderful R word. This is amazing news and I can’t tell you how relieved I feel. Now the for the hard part. Being in remission does not mean that I am Cancer free. It means that my disease is not growing and my tumor is stable. My disease is under

control. My oncologist is concerned that I will relapse so my first transplant has to happen quickly. I needed to be in remission before these transplants. I will know soon when I will begin the first transplant process and will keep everyone informed with the details. Again, it is great news that my Cancer has responded to ICE chemo. The R word bring such joy and hope! Thank you for all of your comments, emails, and donations. You all amaze me.

Some Bloody Good News

So I have some good news and some gross news. I will begin with the first. My insurance company has agreed to cover phase 1 of my clinical trial tandem autologous transplant. I know, I know. What the hell is phase 1? The truth is, I have no idea. I am not managing this process, MCV is. They are the experts in getting insurance companies to cover the clinical trials. I know that having a double transplant is cheaper then undergoing an allogenic transplant, so I am assuming that is why they have agreed to cover phase 1. Don’t know how many more phases there are, but I will keep everyone posted.

Now for the gross news. I have to have a blood transfusion. My red blood cell count and my platelets are too low as a result from ICE chemo. My white blood cells are normal because of an injection that I received after chemo (Neulasta), but if they were too low then I would be neutropenic and have to be hospitalized. Chemo affects everyone differently and when I had the other chemo (from Oct 07-March 08 ABVD) my white bloods cells definitely took a hit, but my red blood cells and platelets were okay. Now that I am getting a new cocktail, ICE, my red blood cells and platelets are taking the hit. Your red blood cells deliver oxygen through your blood and your platelets help coagulate your blood when you bleed openly. Having low counts of both of these means that I am very fatigued, get out of breath very easily, and can’t function at a semi normal rate. I have to walk slow. I can’t go up some stairts without laying down right afterwards. You basically feel like anything that you are going to do will make you pass out and God forbid if I accidently get a cut, I could bleed to death. FUN! So, in order to make this right. I will have my first ever blood transfusion tomorrow to increase my counts. The whole thing is suppose to take 5 hours and I am a little freaked out about it. There is something creepy about getting blood put into my veins. My nurse at VA Oncology told me that I need to get over it because that will be happening a lot when I undergo transplant. I swear this just gets better and better. In the meantime, I will contiue to be a little grossed out. This vampire will be taking pictures tomorrow to capture this bloody experience. Perfect timing for Halloween!

Are we done yet?

Chemo Sucks!

Chemo Sucks!

I am really f******* sick of chemo. Over it. Done. I had my third round of ICE chemotherapy in the hospital last week. A big thank you to everyone who came to visit me (Barbara, Crystal, Katina, Katie, Allie, Pete, Malcom, Amy, Cat, Candis, Von, Shelly, and Charmel). As most of you know, I am usually pretty coherent the first and second day of chemo, but when the third day hits, its all out hell. I want to take this moment to thank Pete & Malcom for coming to visit me on the third day. Having both of you talk to me while I lay in the hospital bed completely fatigue and wanting to puke my guts out really comforted me. I can never truly articulate how thankful I am to have you both in my life. I also need to take a moment and thank the nurses at the hospital. Caprice, Mary Ann, Sally, and Bricky, you are my angels and I could not fight this fight without you. Please know that you are all amazing and I will never forget the love and support that you ladies have shown me.

Today is a week out from chemo. I am not feeling good, but I am determined to get back up to speed. On the third day of ICE chemo, there was a concern for my blood counts. My red blood cells were dropping and they were going to give me a blood transfusion. They decided to give me an injection of Procrit to boost my red blood cells. I ended up being discarded very late Thursday night from the hospital. Side effects from chemo this time were different. I was completely sick and had to take a lot of anti-nausea medications. I am not going to lie to you, but its been a nightmare. Right now, everyday is a challenge. I take steps to see what my body is capable of, but sometimes the risks involve passing out. I know that I this is a slow process and I will get better soon. I just have to be patient (one of my strong qualities. 🙂

Thank you for all of your comments, phone calls, and texts. I love you all!