Monday, September 26, 2011

Passed the Blood Test and Tennis

I passed the blood test today. I'm officially moved to priority status, which means the transplant team gets to start scheduling me. They're supposed to call me some time this week. Meg, the informative nurse practitioner, tells me they probably won't schedule anything until next week.

That's nice. I'll get to go to the Ingathering, which is the primary yearly festival at Rose Creek Village, where I live when I'm not being treated for acute leukemia.

My white blood cell count is 6.8, and my neutrophil count is at 5250, which is smack dab in the middle of normal range. My platelets are up to 178, which means I have a normal level of blood clotting ability, too.

And that means I can run and play tennis!

Unfortunately, my red blood cell counts are not up much. I'm running at about 2/3 full on those, which means I can only process oxygen at 2/3 normal level. That means my running and tennis endurance is pretty pitiful. Sad ...

That's not to say I'm not trying!

This morning I got up at 6 a.m. It was a struggle to feel energetic, which I suspect has a lot to do with the fact that I went to bed at 4 a.m. I got started on a web page about the problems with "Drive By Posting" in evolution vs. creation discussions, and I wrote on the subject for about 5 hours. We had driven home from Rose Creek Village yesterday, so I didn't get started on the page until about 10 pm.

I had company, too. My wife was up until at least 3 am working on her computer to set it up for composing songs. We did all this at the table, while Caleb snoozed on the couch less than 10 feet away, the only bed he gets in this 2-bedroom apartment provided by the kindness of "Open Arms,"

After my doctor's appointment this morning, I took a nap for about three hours, but I still felt terribly lacking in energy.

So I did the only thing I could think of to do in such a situation.

I took the kids to the weight room, and I did a full workout for about half an hour, followed by 5 minutes on the elliptical machine, which is as hard as jogging.

I was pumped. I felt great, but I still feel like a guy with 2/3 of the blood he's supposed to have.

So, next step. Take the kids to play tennis. It's a beautiful day, and I'm sitting outside, typing on the computer in a lawn chair, under a tree ...

Well, not anymore. My turn to play tennis came, and now we're back, and I'm sitting in the living room. I beat Caleb 6-2. In a sense, that's a great accomplishment because he can run significantly faster than me. In fact, if I remember correctly, he could outrun me when he was 11, which is very sad. On the other hand, it's not much of an accomplishment because it's the third time he's ever played.

The World of Fellow Leukemia/Lymphoma Patients

A few days ago I realized I hadn't called Don in quite a while. He got an autologous (from himself) stem cell transplant while I was in the hospital. He was released the day after his transplant, but he got a bad stomach infection and wound up back in the hospital for a week or so.

Then we had lunch with him a couple weeks later, and he was chipper, but he didn't look real healthy. He was still neutropenic (at risk of infection), and he had to wear a hospital mask into the restaurant, though he took it off to eat.

So I called him ... and he didn't answer.

I went in and told my wife, "I hope he's not dead!"

Fortunately, he called me back an hour or so later, and he's not only not dead, but he's healthy. I should have known because a lot of y'all prayed for him. In fact, I thought of that, and your prayers were the most comforting thing I could think of while I was worrying about him.

So today the shoe was on the other foot.

Nice shot that either Leilani or Manuha took.
Jerry sent me a text yesterday while we were driving back to Nashville. He said that he had spots all over his body, and he thinks he was bleeding because his platelets were low.

He's one week behind me on chemo, and on Thursday his platelet count was 18. Just to remind you, the low end of normal is 150. Eighteen is terrible, but the hospital doesn't give platelets to leukemia patients until they get down to 10.

The problem is, Jerry wasn't going to get his blood counts checked again until Monday. That's 4 days, and he was already at 18, which was down from around 90 three days earlier.

So as it turned out, his platelet count got down to 4, and basically he was leaking all over his body. That's frightening.

Anyway, he's okay. They gave him platelets today.

But he didn't know I was okay because I forgot to answer his text. I was driving back from Rose Creek Village when I got it. Then I got home, and we got settled in, and I spent most of the night typing up a web page. I went to the hospital, and we were in and out in not much over half an hour. When I got home, I'd only had 2 hours of sleep, so I took a nap from 8:30 to 11:30, and I missed another one of Jerry's text.

So at 11:30 I got a call from Jerry making sure I was okay.

When your friends have deadly diseases and a hospital is regularly administering powerfully toxic chemicals to them on a regular basis, you worry when they don't answer the phone.

I feel like I hit that 70-year-old, compare-your-aches-and-pains state about 20 years too early!

So tomorrow I pass my final test, the dental exam, and then wait around for calls from the transplant team. Meg tells me my blood counts are good enough that she canceled my Thursday blood counts.

Remember finals in high school and college? I never pictured having finals that included a blood test and a dental exam!

Good day to all of you.

1 comment:

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