Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day 79: A Bit of Freedom!

I can't believe it's been so hard to keep writing this blog. I need to update y'all, though.

I'm off the Foscarnet, and the "just-in-case" round of antibiotics, both of which were daily. As a result, I only need to go to the clinic twice a week. This week I went on Monday and Thursday (today).

So Saturday, for the first time in a very long time, I was able to have a day away from the clinic. Since then, I had Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off, too. Very nice.

Mostly I took the extra time to get a little ahead on my Through the Bible in a Year blogging and to do my business taxes, which I finished yesterday. To my amazement, it went quite well, despite having to use to access our accounting software.

So here's my progress.

The really big thing is that my body is apparently defeating that BK virus, which means my immune system is up and running better than it has been. The BK virus can cause some serious kidney and bladder problems if you don't stay hydrated, but even if you do, there's some annoying effects. For the last four or five weeks, at least, I've had to get up every hour of every night to go to the bathroom. That means I've been sleeping one hour at a time since I got out of the hospital back in late February.

That's been steadily improving for the last few days. I only got up twice last night.

There's three major blood counts to monitor:

  • White blood cells - the immune system
  • Red blood cells - they carry oxygen
  • Platelets - they clot the blood to stop bleeding

My platelets have stopped rising, still about halfway to the bottom of the normal range. The platelet count was 69 today. That's not too bad, since they're supposed to be the last to recover, anyway.

What's nice is that my red blood cells are climbing now, too. Yesterday and today's reading was 38%. 45% is normal for a male, and I've been sitting around 30% until a week ago.

My white blood cells stopped increasing, too, but they're in the normal range. Today at the clinic, my neutrophils—the white blood cells that fight bacteria—took a sharp drop. I don't know what that was unless the neutrophils are helping with the fight against that BK virus. Killing pathogens does lead to white blood cells dying.

Sun-protective hat and sleeves. Sunscreen only needed on hands. The hat's flaps velcro together to stop the sun you can see on my face as well.
I've been plugging away at the exercise, and while I would still describe myself as scrawny, my muscles are tightening back up, and I can see some progress. I still can't do a pushup, but I get a little closer each week. Yesterday was a beautiful spring morning, so I put my sun-protective hat on, added a little sunblock to my hands, wore a long-sleeve shirt and walked a course I know to be about a mile.

It was great! Very pleasant! Of course, if the last 100 yards hadn't been downhill, I'd have been calling home for a ride, but it was, and I made it. I can also run about 50 yards. Maybe that 5K in the summer isn't impossible. I just want to make it in 45 minutes, which would be 15-minute miles.

No way to know if I'm dreaming until the time gets nearer.

I Don't Have an Inside Voice

One of the good things—and there are a number of them—about being treated for leukemia is all the people that you meet.

The other day, I overheard Howard, who deserves a writeup here as well, trying to quiet someone at the front desk by telling her to "use your inside voice." A lady's voice then answered, "I don't have an inside voice."

I knew exactly who it was, even though I couldn't see them from my room.

Almost no one can make your day start on as high a note as Lynora. She's sitting at the desk every weekday morning at the clinic waiting to check us in with a rousing hello and all the right papers that you need to make your hospital life go smoothly. She laughs quickly, loves on everybody, and she doesn't have an inside voice.

Other Blogs

Let me make a plug for my blog roll in the right column, too. Some of those blogs are extremely inspiring. The most recently updated ones rise to the top, so they're easy to check on.


  1. It was so nice to see you at the Gathering yesterday!! I'm glad you got to come for a visit! I think and pray about you often! It was nice seeing you run by with Manu! :) Joel and I miss you a lot! We love you and pray that God keeps blessing you in everything you do!

  2. Thanks, Ashley. We're hoping to be back this weekend.

    It was pretty exciting to do that little run. I didn't know I could run further than about 50 feet. I just try to keep going forward!

    I miss the both of you, too, but that shouldn't be necessary soon! I hope to be back home by the end of May!