Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23: Feeling Like a Leukemia Patient

Today, I'm feeling at least a little like a leukemia patient in chemotherapy.

A quick request, too. If you like any of my blog posts, hit the "+1" button at the bottom. It helps with Google searches, and I'd love for that original "Yippee! I Have Leukemia!" post (see tab above) to be easily found in Google. So, if that did something for you, click the "+1" on that post, not this one.

Also, my wife is blogging from her perspective at Lorie on Life!. The post I just linked is about the perks of leukemia. Yeah, there are some.

Thank you!

First, the Good News

For a lot of you who don't know me real well, you might want to only read this section. The rest might not be interesting.

First, a friend who's in Kenya right now sent me a link to a charming, heartwarming, and inspiring video about a 9-year-old Kenyan chemotherapy patient. It's six minutes long, well worth the time to make your whole day warmer.

Second, Al, whom I mentioned in this blog two or three days ago, got his marrow biopsy back. It's clear. That's a really big step on this floor. It means his first round of chemo will be done, his blood should build back up over the next two weeks, and he'll be en route, probably without difficulties, to a transplant in the next few months. He already has a donor.

So that's an answer to prayer.

Prayer Requests

I'm thinking that father of the two sons from Kentucky I met will get his marrow biopsy back on Monday. He's not headed for transplant, but a clear biopsy will be just as important to seeing him in remission.

Finally, I ran into John again, and I got some more information from him. His wife has lymphoma, and chemo has put her in remission twice, once for four years and once for ten. So this is session three of six this time around. Obtaining remission means years of normal living for her, so please pray that happens and she handles the chemo well.

Okay, Now the Personal Stuff

Like I said, if you don't know me well, you might want to just go watch that girl's video (above). It's way better than hearing about misfiring bodily functions. I'm only discussing such things because I thought maybe some of you wanted to know what the experience of going through chemo is like, at least for me, in the modern world where they have pretty effective medicines for a lot of chemo side effects.

I am untethered finally! That's Nurse Susan releasing me yesterday.
I had a rough night last night. Pretty rough afternoon before that, too. I'll spare you any hemorrhoid stories from yesterday. Last night, it was just heartburn painful enough that I couldn't sleep.

The nurse gave me some medication, but when that didn't help, she said the next step was to make sure my heart was okay. I pretty much begged her not to, assured her that I was certain it was gastrointestinal, and told her just forget about it, I'd be fine.

Amazingly, it worked. They were okay with giving me Tums™. I got the impression that the doctor wanted some reassurance, but they'd just done an EKG around dinner time yesterday.

I hope that's okay to report on a blog. I don't want to get anyone in trouble. The staff, across the board, is incredible, and I completely trust them. They have some very lofty goals for their staff posted on a big bulletin board in the hallway, and I'll testify that they're accomplishing them. They are not just professional and skilled, but they are a team always giving off a vibrant and positive atmosphere.

Okay, enough praise.

As it turns out walking around and burping a bit took care of the heartburn. I've always had trouble burping, weird as that may sound, and so moving around helps.

Dr. Halliday checked on me this morning, and I told him that apparently I needed to be put up on someone's shoulder and patted on the back. He said, "We all need that every now and then."

That cracked me up.

Quick Note on My Blood

Oh, I'm also dragging today. My red blood cell and hemoglobin counts are up. I don't know why, but I'm going to ask the doctors.

Nonetheless, I feel a lot more like I did last week. Walking a mile meant making my hands tingle and my forearms and lower legs ached slightly like I'd been going too far. I was breathing harder than yesterday, and overall it was like a long hike rather than the brisk walk it has been.

I even forewent the bicycle, both for fatigue and for, uh, not aggravating the hemorrhoids. (Should I not be mentioning those? For those of you who have had them, you know they can be a pretty significant part of your life.)

I'm wondering if the red blood cells I make aren't as good as the red blood cells they give me from other people. My blood cell counts are good as they were two or three days ago, but the energy that blood can produce doesn't compare.

Well, more things to ask the doctors.


  1. Ok, you can not be a PAVAO if you cannot BURP! Seriously, you've always had a hard time with that. I don't recall that at all, but maybe that is because I never had a problem with burping. lol I even won some burping contest in the military. I always gave credit to being a Pavao, maybe I shouldn't give that credit. lol

    I'm glad you are feeling better with that. And as for the hemorrhoids, it's part of the experience and I'm learning so much from your experience, so share it all!

  2. I can sum up the hemorrhoid experience in one word: OWWWEEEE!!! Nothing more to say.

    I have a great story about difficulty burping, but I'll save it for today's blog. In general, it's difficult for me to burp, but when I do I've usually put enough effort into it that it's LOUD. So that's kind of a joke around our house.