Our friend Liz passed away on Monday. We never actually got the chance to meet her, even though she only lived 30 minutes away. Sometime back in March, our friend Joe posted a link on the Advocate that directed people back to this blog and that's how we met her. Liz was a BMT survivor and was released from Tulane hospital the day before Katrina hit. She reached out to me after reading the blog and we got to know each other through emails. Her emails were always thoughtful and informative and most importantly hilarious. I always looked forward to getting at least one a week from her and recently, we had begun to make plans to meet. Just after I arrived in Baton Rouge, she went back into the hospital with pneumonia. Her husband, Richard, kept us up to date on what was going on with her from that point. You all know the rest. I will always regret not having met Liz personally, but I'll be forever grateful that she took the time to reach out to me. Please pray for her family during this time.
As for what is going on with me...I've been vomiting since last Thursday and have been having a hard time keeping anything down(or in for that matter). You all know about the sore throat and stomach issues. Monday night I began running another low grade fever. Since it started so late in the evening, I think Chris decided to wait until morning to worry about it. It went from 100.2 to 101.3 the next morning. That's all it took. Chris had me packing a bag for Houston. We were on the road at 8 AM and due to some technical difficulties, were in Houston by 1:30. I was admitted to the MD Anderson Emergency Care Center--this is rather like the ER at a regular hospital. Even though MD Anderson specializes in treating cancer, it is always filled to capacity. They are currently adding floors to the hospital, but in the mean time, the worse case scenarios are the first ones to be admitted. Chris and I waited there until 2AM the next day for a room to be made ready for me. I'm currently writing to you all from the 10th floor with a lovely view of the Baylor College of Medicine. Aside from the glorious HVAC units on the building next to me, that's all there is to see.
I've continued to run a low grade fever all day and have been suffering with severe diarrhea. My appetite is non-existent since my stomach immediately begins to cramp as soon as I eat something. I'm starting to suspect GVHD of the GI tract. The attending physician wants to wait for a course of antibiotics to run 24 hours before jumping to that conclusion.
What's that, but you have no central line, Ann? No, they removed my CVC when I was discharged from the transplant over 30 days ago. I still have the divot and scars in my chest to prove it. Chris is thinking a little plastic surgery may be in order. Throw in a brow and chin lift and I might get on board. Much to the chagrin of all of the nurses, an IV line has to be started the old fashioned way--with a long needle. They may hate having to find a viable vein, but I hate it more. The sensation of the needle spelunking under your skin with your frightened veins rolling for their lives, desperately trying to avoid a stick. Did I mention that these lines don't last very long? I've only been here for 2 days and I've already had three lines. Ouch, Elliot.
For once my magnesium is too high. Can you believe it? They've decreased my dosage in the hopes that my stomach cramps will subside. No luck yet, I'm afraid. My other numbers are as follows:
That's as good as it gets. I'm not relapsing according to the numbers. As far as I can tell, I was extraordinarily lucky with all of the events that occurred immediately after the transplant. Maybe life is just catching up to me. They won't know if this is GVHD until they've done the scopes. Endoscopy and colonoscopy. Trust me, there will be ativan involved. If this is just a combination of a viral and bacterial infection, that's life. My baby stem cells need to learn to stand up to the bullies. I'd feel better if they were girls, since I'd know that they'd get the job done under budget and on time. :) Chris assures me that the boys will do just as well. Since they're a part of me, I fully believe it.
So, I continue my life as a lady of leisure, only in the exotic confines of an MD Anderson hospital room. This means that I will miss our friend's wedding in Baltimore. I'm very sorry, Wiley and Mara. Please send pictures. I was really looking forward to toasting you all and having a post transplant dance with my honey. This also means that the side trips to New York and New Jersey are off. Sorry, guys. We'll figure something out after this is all done. It'll give me time to finish knitting a few things for the trip. I have a CT scan in a few minutes, so I'm off. Feel free to entertain me with lots of comments.