One year ago today…

I went to the doctor because I had:

– 103 degree fever that would not go away
– I was out of breath if I walked up or down half a flight of stairs
– I could hear my heartbeat when I walked
– I had a rash through my mid-section

You all know the rest of the story. A year ago today, I was diagnosed with Acute Promyeloctic Leukemia. So far, this April Fool’s Day is much, much better!

Complete Blood Counts

I have been maintaining good counts for a while now. I am really happy about that. Unfortunately the maintenance medication still has it’s rough spots. The weekly Methatrexiate shot gives me a 36 hour headache and the daily Mercaptopurine still gives me the occasional mouth sore. Last week was filled with both headache and mouth sores. This week, much better. This week’s counts:

White Blood Cells: 4.7
Hemoglobin: 15.3
Platelets: 287,000
Neutrophils: 2,900

Last week:

White Blood Cells: 5.8
Hemoglobin: 15.0
Platelets: 267,000
Neutrophils: 3,700

I wonder about the fluctuations. I may have to read up on that sometime. Nah. I’ll just ask my Oncologist/Hematologist. You know, I don’t know anyone else who openly shares their blood counts with the world. Makes me pretty darn personable, don’t you think???

Good and Ouch!!!

Wow my counts continue to climb. Amazing:

White Blood Cells: 6.0!!!
Hemoglobin: 16.2!!!
Platelets: 278,000
Neutrophils: 3,800!!!

However, while today’s bone marrow aspirate was not the most painful (the first one was the worst), it was up there. For those of you who have not had a bone marrow aspirate, the pain is two-fold and works like this: 1) the initial puncture – when the needle is pushed into the pelvis; they basically “hammer” it in, it takes a bit and it hurts, but the pain stays in that area 2) when the marrow is drawn into the syringe, it creates a vacuum, this is quick, but it creates an unbelievable flash or jolt of pain, I usually feel this through every single bone in my body..toes to fingers to skull. This time the first part was rough, I should have a pretty good bruise. The second part was not as bad as normal, i.e. I did not feel it through my entire body.

Ah well that’s five of those since April 1, 2005. No more until late April, 2006 :/

No 5

No, not Chanel.

In fact, other than the number five, my fifth bone marrow aspirate will probably bear no resemblance to the classic parfum.

Yes it is that time again. At this point I do not worry about going through the procedure. I just want the results.

How You Doin’ ?

Wow. Per my CBC this week, I am a normal male. Check these counts out:

White Blood Cell Count: 5.1
Hemoglobin: 15.3 – Wow!!!
Platelets: 278,000
Neutrophils: 3600

I cannot remember ever having a 15+ hemoglobin. I am not anemic!

Here it is cold and flu season and I am walking around with a heck of an immune system! You know, this fall I have been pretty healthy. Usually when I go to Europe I get a cold at some point. Not this time. No way. Maybe it’s karma? Yeah, I think I have had enough illness for a while 🙂

It was the holidays last year when I started my health stuff. I had acid reflux and started chasing that right up until I was diagnosed with leukemia on April 1st. It is nice to be getting some time behind on all this.

Getting Better All the Time!

Wow!

Look at these counts:

White Blood Cells: 4.5
Hemoglobin: 14.9
Platelets: 243,000
Neutrophils: 2,800

The white blood cell count is the highest it has been in some time. The hemoglobin is the highest I can remember. The platelets and neutrophils are respectable.

This is all very good. Considering how much time I am going to spend on a plane to Copenhagen, I will need a good immune system sitting through all that recycled air. Yuck.

Four

Well I had my fourth bone marrow aspirate today. Not much fanfare anymore. I think I am getting used to it and my doctor is getting better at it. Don’t get me wrong, it is no cake walk. It is still an amazing jolt of pain. I am just not as impressed by it as I used to be.

Also found out that I will be on my maintenance plan until August 2007. And quarterly bone marrow aspirates until then too.

Haircut

I went and saw my hairstylist today. I got my haircut. I really didn’t “need” a haircut. It was was shaggy and I wanted it cleaned up. Good as excuse as any. I had not seen anyone at the salon since March of this year. I sure had a lot to catch them up on!!! The point is a haircut takes me futher away from chemotherapy. It was cool to get back to something I was used to doing every month 🙂

hair
Here is how it came out.

fighter
This is in the middle of chemotherapy. Totally bald.

before
This is two weeks before I was diagnosed.

Counts

The latest. Last week I saw my Oncologist/Hematologist. My mouth sores have not really impressed her. So we did not reduce the dosage of my maintenance medications. Just stay on a daily multi-vitamin with B6, zinc and folic acid. And well for this week no mouth sores. I also asked about the long term effect of these meds on my liver and heart. No risk to my heart. And she checks my liver via results from my CBCs. I will have to get more information on how that is done in my next visit. Overall my doctor’s take is she wants to cure me (five years in remission) rather than make me comfortable 😛 However, my white blood cell count last week was a little low, 3.5. She did say if it drops below that, then they will reduce the dosages. Temporarily.

Good news. Now my doctor considers me in 100% remission! She got all of the test results she wanted and they are all clean. Another bone marrow aspirate on October 26th. Sigh. This is getting all to routine.

Off to the Oncology office again today. CBC and Methotrexate shot.

I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)

I have been on maintenance drugs now for a month and half. Last week I started noticing I was getting mouth sores, again. Yuck. I called the Oncology office and they suggested adding a daily multi-vitamin. I did and well the mouth sores seem to be going away. Good thing. I don?t think I can do mouth sores for two years. The drugs are cytotoxic so, I was also worried they might be affecting my blood counts too. Thankfully this week?s CBC showed all counts still look good.

FYI:

Cytotoxic – Toxic to cells, cell-toxic, cell-killing. Any agent or process that kills cells. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are forms of cytotoxic therapy. They kill cells.

Definition from Medicine.Net.

Title of this post taken from Marilyn Manson. Though, I am pretty sure he was writing about a different experience than I am.

14!

My blood counts have been great. And I guess you might say still improving. Today I had a 14 on hemoglobin. Which put me in the normal range. Non-anemic!

Today was also an appointment with my Oncologist/Hematologist. Interesting note. She is not considering me 100% in remission. She wants another molecular test. The last one was clear for one cell in 20. The one she wants to have run is one cell in a million. Hopefully the test can be run using the marrow obtained in the last aspirate. If not, I’ll be getting my next bone marrow aspirate a little early.

I guess that is all okay with me. At this point I think the proof is in the blood counts. They are consistently good. And obviously in some areas, still improving. And if I have to get a bone marrow aspirate early? Pfft, whatever. I have already proved to myself, I can get through those.