Sunday, March 17, 2013

Feelin' that Irish Luck Today!

Even though I've been an enthusiastic fan of things Celtic, I’m not Irish by heritage as far as I know, but it is St Patrick’s Day and I’m basking in their fabled luck, at least the good stuff we all enjoy…like the Lucky Charms® box. After all, they’re magically delicious! It has felt like perpetual Saturdays being an inpatient, but my nurse this morning sported some shiny green mardi gras beads and for lunch I had corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and pistachio pudding for dessert (Yeah!) So, while green may not be one of the colors I packed for my extended stay at Club Med, I was hearing Danny Boy and feelin’ full o’ blarney, if not just a little Irish luck today. After all, we’re all Irish on St Patrick’s Day!

As usual, I was awake during the wee hours of the morning, ruminating on one thing or the other, but not arriving at any particular solution to solve the Middle East peace thing, so I watched some Netflix and the day began as usual with its routine data gathering on me, the lab rat. My PICC line has been inside my chest now for almost three weeks, so over time, it has accumulates some fun fibery goodness on the end which doesn’t impede chemicals going in, but hasn’t been so generous about allowing blood back out for lab analysis (read: not a danger – the catheter is chemically flushed and cleaned periodically). That made it necessary for someone from the blood lab to come up with needle in hand to take the blood. Everyone knows the lab people are typically the most skilled phlebotomists around. After all, that’s the lion’s share of what they do…and this guy was no exception. He was good and I was not hurting!

While labs are nothing to write home about, it kind of is today. When the infectious disease people came up, they were once again happy to say that nothing was found as the culprit of my fevers and that my blood cultures revealed a bit fat doughnut of information.  In other words, nothing was growing there and my blood was clean…except that more than clean, it was showing that my body is coming back on line. In fact, they suspect the sole reason for my fever was my body's way of showing that it was re-booting white cell production. So, antibiotics and antivirals will come off. My white count doubled for the second day in a row. The important thing to note here is that neutrophils, and the key element in fighting infections in our white cells, are also on the rise. Neutrophil counts are a percentage of the overall white blood cell count. Once those neutrophil levels rise above 500 is when yours truly gets to check out of this here Hotel California! And that, dear ones, is what not one, but three doctors were suggesting would happen in the next day or so!

Can I get an amen!?

It is Sunday, even if it is Utah and most people here only use the word as a period to a prayer, I did spent nearly 20 years south of the Mason-Dixon line and there, that word is usually an affirmation spoke with great gusto and frequency, regardless of the day of the week. And when my hematologist suggested it would likely be Tuesday, I think it’s safe to make that joyful noise!

I should point out that this is irrespective of the intrathecal (spinal) chemo I’m going to be oh-so-lucky to get tomorrow. Provided my counts continue to multiply as they are now, I can anticipate some temporary normality for a while.  Big picture is that for the next three Mondays, I’ll be getting my spinal cord lanced with chemicals to ensure my brain and skull remain clear of the leukemic loveliness and once I have a bone marrow donor identified, I’ll likely have a 5-day inpatient stay for some less strenuous consolidation chemo.  Then comes my denouement – the shiny new immune system. That’ll be pretty rough from all I’ve been told, but when we’re done, we should be done.  From then, it’s a matter of making sure my body is being a good host and allowing this new system to make itself comfortable. ¡Mi cuerpo es su cuerpo! Sorta.

I’ve been told that since I’m such a Caucasian, that it’s likely that if my donor doesn’t come from the US, we’ll find someone in Germany, so if my speech becomes a bit clipped and precise after this, you’ll know why!

My song du jour is homage to my home town. I remember spinning this 45 as a kid (and if you don’t know what a 45 is, you’re too young!). Yeah, yeah, yeah, we had to use a rotary dial phone that was mounted on the wall, waited for TVs to warm up before a picture appeared (and only had 3-5 channels to choose from which you had to physically get up and walk across the room to change) and we all walked to school both ways at least a mile uphill in the blowing, knee-deep snow, too.  Anyway, the song stuck in my mind forever and when I knew I was going home, the spinning 45 on the cheapie little kiddie record player always drew me to my happy place. So, it does it for me tonight.
Be well, stay strong, much love to you all!