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 :/

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.

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.

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.

Bone Marrow Aspirate Number Three

Well, as I get these bone marrow aspirates, I get better at it. You can breath through pain and it really helps. That is not to say it was not painful. It was. I felt it from my toe tips to my finger tips, in my bones, all over. It’s quite an amazing jolt really. Anyhow I am glad to be past another one.

Good news. Between rounds three and four of chemotherapy my blood was sent off for molecular testing. It all came back negative. That is a good sign going into today’s bone marrow aspirate.

I also had my counts taken:

White Blood Count: 4.6
Neutrophils: 2600
Hemoglobin: 13.4
Platelets: 315,000

All pretty good. Getting close on the hemoglobin.

And I started maintenance today. Once a week a shot of methotrexate. Daily two pills of mercatopurine. And every three months a fifteen day round of ATRA. So today I got the methotrexate shot and started taking mercatopurine and ATRA (again).

Good news first?

Today I had my blood drawn for cell counts. When I called into the nurse to get the results, she asked if I “wanted the good news first, or the good news?”

Wow. My platelets are down to 280,000. That is human range again! No more aspirin and no more dang Lovenox shots in the stomach twice a day.

My white blood cell counts are low but respectable. My neutrophils are enough to to take care of myself. And my red blood cells are anemic but high enough!

All counts are coming back up from the consolidation round of chemotherapy. Already!

That means I did it! I went through chemotherapy as an outpatient!!! No easy feat for those fighting leukemia, in my humble opinion.

In fact, the counts were so good, they canceled next week’s blood draw. I do have a full doctor’s appointment late next week. That will include a blood draw for cell counts. And knowing my Oncologist/Hematologist, she will want to do a bone marrow aspirate. Ouch!!!

Bone Marrow Day

I did it. I got through the bone marrow aspirate. Without morphine and without sedation. Some people have asked why I did not get morphine or sedated. Here is why: 1. I have about 15 more of these bone marrow aspirates ahead of me in the next two years. 2. As an outpatient my only two (convenient) options will be to have them done in my oncologist’s office or at the hospital under sedation. 3. The pain for the method I chose today is quicker. I was walking the floor with a physical therapist minutes after the procedure.

Still running a low fever…waiting. My right arm is not as swollen today. In general my counts up today. And for the first time platelets are up. Only a little but still they are up.

And after going through today’s bone marrow aspirate so well, my spirits are up too. I was not looking forward to that procedure.