Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back on Track (in glorious boredom)

(4/17/08 - did you file your taxes? Oops, too late now! Well, unless you filed for an extension, you cheeky monkey.)

Well here I am again, finally. Back in the hospital. My white cell counts were off the charts (high end) on Monday because of the neupogen shots I'd been taking, but I guess that's okay, because they know there were plenty of precursor cells to produce them. If there were only a few precursor cells or something else was going on with my bone marrow, we might be singing a different tune, but for now it's "Oh, I'm so bored in the hospital" (a little known ditty by an obscure but popular motown group in the 60's). On the upside, I've got a very friendly roommate this time around, so we've been chatting quite a bit. Also, a steady stream of visitors helps a lot (hint, hint).

Well, just one more day. . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

All Clear on the Bone Marrow Front!


Woohoo!* The results came back and my bone marrow is perfectly fine and healthy. All the precursor cells are there, but I guess they just need some stimulation. I'll be taking neupogen shots for the next three days to get the marrow factories working again, but I hopefully should be all clear to go in for treatment next week (knock on wood!).

I was a bit bummed the past couple of days, even though I wasn't thaaat worried (not true for the fam, though). My low counts made some sort of sense, given all that's happened in the previous couple of weeks, without it being due to some new anomaly. There's always that pesky glimmer of doubt, though - the one that constantly says, "Yes, yes, it should be because of this that and the other, but what if...?" So, yes, I'm definitely feeling relief at this news. Whew...

* By the way, have you seen the new Washington Mutual ads? They insist upon spelling this word, "Whoohoo", or some such nonsense. what's the deal with the extra "h"? It seems someone thinks that's the correct spelling, but my two minutes of searching on the internet has not produced an explanation. The original song featured in Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and in the Vonage commercials was spelled, "Woo Hoo", but that was also by a Japanese band - and we all know how the Japanese like to butcher English (check out: Regardless, I still stand by my spelling, gosh darn it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Delays Raising Brows


I'm starting to feel like a broken record - "counts too low, counts too low. . . " This week they were even a little lower, 940, down from 1050 (course, that's probably within the error range of the neutrophil test). It's a bit of a cause for worry, so I had a bone marrow biopsy yesterday (ouch!) to check for any badness in the white cell production factories. Once we see what that shows, I guess we'll have a little bit more of a plan for what to do. My doctor thinks it's probably just taking the marrow a long time to recover from the combination of radiation, chemo, and two infections (zoster and then the random neutropenic fever afterwards), but I guess it's hard to speculate. I feel kinda frustrated, but this is supposedly "normal", meaning that it's definitely happened before to other folks who have gone through this treatment protocol.

On another note, I think my eyebrows are thinning out. I wonder if they'll go away completely. The hair on my head seems to come and go a little bit, but there's been a constant sparse fuzz there.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Still ain't there


Well, I went in on Monday again, only to be told my counts were still too low. But it's not like they came up and just weren't high enough; they were actually about the same level as last Wednesday (1050 instead of 1040). Again the docs said there's nothing to really do except wait. Probably due to radiation and chemo combined, my bone marrow is just being sluggish. I've had some friends tell me that over-exercising can actually bring the counts down, so I guess I've been taking it mostly easy this week (though I did go climbing on Tues, and to Tai Chi on Wed). Of course there's other info that says regular moderate exercise brings the counts up. . . And then there's nutritional advice - some people say animal products reduce the ability of your body to produce natural killer (NK) cells, so we should all be more vegetarian. Then there's the mysterious-but-possibly-based-in-truth Chinese medicine advice, which says you should eat certain foods like frog legs (which I did do this week) to boost your immunity.

I think what gets me the most is the uncertainty and, being of a relatively scientific mind, the lack of data on a lot of this stuff. I suppose part of the problem is that the body is so complicated that even if there were tons of data on this and that, there's no guarantee that it would apply to me as an individual. Plus, there's no guarantee that the studies are controlled enough to yield a true result. I guess that's why every week the news tells us something else is either great for us or wrong for us or will turn our skin purple with pink polka dots, and then a year later that thing is in the opposite category. Ugh. It's endlessly frustrating.