Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spinal Tap and a Schedule

My spinal tap was scheduled for today rather than yesterday afternoon like they originally planned. I have a second (actually, a fifth) scheduled next week.

I'm not so scared of this one, though the idea of a three-and-a-half-inch needle pushing its way into my spinal column isn't a real pleasant one. I know to lay down for a couple days, as close to every minute as possible. Hopefully, I'll be able to sit up afterward without headaches.

I did get to talk to Dr. Strickland yesterday, which was comforting. My blood counts have been coming back very slowly. That didn't bother him at all. "We gave you a big dose of chemotherapy," he said.

When he said that, I told him about the nurse's reaction when she was giving me the chemo last month. First she remarked about how high the dose was, and then when I told her I was getting twelve doses, rather than eight as she had thought, she acted shocked. When I told Dr. Strickland about that, he said, "I promise we've given that much to other people, too."

He said the high dose is also why I lost so much hair this time. Besides my bald head, I haven't shaved in over two weeks, and there's not a bit of stubble. Not that I'm complaining about that.

He said there's no sense rushing. We need to be thorough so the leukemia doesn't come back. We also need to be safe. We might as well do everything we can to verify there won't be another heart attack.

My cardiac appointment is December 14. The wait is necessary to verify that no damage was done to my heart by the heart attack two weeks ago. It's close enough to the holidays that Dr. Strickland said it's worth putting off the transplant till the first of the year. We can get the prep done during the holidays, then get started right after.

So at this point, I'm on a six-week vacation with two spinal taps (today and next week), assuming they're actually clear of abnormal cells like we're expecting, and a cardiac appointment, assuming my heart's okay when they check it.

The time will be nice. I'm working on another book, besides the one I want to write on this whole leukemia process, and I want to revamp my Christian history web site so that it only focuses on the early Christianity, up to A.D. 400 (though I'll keep the section on the Reformation). All that will take longer than six weeks.

Okay, that's the news. I'm in the radiology waiting room, so I'm going to close now in case they call me for the spinal tap.

Oh, one more thing: When I come for a spinal tap I wear sweat pants and a t-shirt because it makes it easier to expose my lower back. Today, I grabbed out the "It's all good" T-shirt that little Katie (she's 5) got me for my birthday. It's still a pick-me-up to see the shirt. It always encourages me, and that's especially nice on a spinal tap day.

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