Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Day +133

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:
WBC 4.4
RBC 2.77
HGL 8.9
ANC 2.81
PLT 342

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.


pj said...

I'm glad you went to MDA. They will know what to do. Maybe you can have a PICC line installed in your arm. It's pretty quick, less annoying than a catheter and makes getting antibiotics a breeze. Hold on to that sense of humor. It's stood you well up to now. Don't even think about relapse. Your numbers are great, Probably just a little old GVHD which is treatable, if a pain in the rear. I'll be thinking about you (and Chris, too). Sending positive energy your way.

Anonymous said...

We are sorry you are going to miss the wedding but even more sorry you are not feeling well. Concentrate on those platelets, that's what's important right now, and we'll visit with yall next time we're in town. If it's any consolation, I expect my wedding will be as boring as all the weddings of other people I have been to, only I'll have to smile the whole time. I promise we'll send lots of pictures and we will be thinking of you!
Mara & Wiley

Nancy said...

I kind of suspected that something was up. You didn't post a blog for five days. I am also glad you went to MD Anderson. They know exactly what to do. I certainly hope you are feeling better soon. Think positive and know that it's just a bump in the road. You'll be back home soon. My thoughts and prayers are with you both. love, nancy

Anonymous said...

You hang in there....things will be back on track soon!!! i know you don't know me either but again i am from IN and i came to your site cuz i was looking for info about leukemia since i have a friend that has leukemia...he had to have a BMT too. You and Chris have just been so inspirational in just learning about this disease and also to see how well you both handle this( Even on your bad days) and how you both care so much about one another. Everyone should learn from you guys!!! my husband recently got dx with MS. that is a whole different disease. We are going to get though this day at a time and also with lots of support from family and friends! Lots of unknowns out there but just stay positive, upbeat and you guys can get though these little backsteps! thinking and praying for you both and HOPEFULLY soon you will get to reschedule some of your trips!!!! hope you have a better day and start feeling better. Lisa :)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're still not feeling well, Ann. But I am glad you're at MD Anderson. At least I know you're in good hands. I'm hoping for the best for you.


Tina said...

For the best that you won't be able to come to new york, for me anyway. I think I am getting sick right now, and it would drive me bonkers if I couldn't hang out with you while you were here.

Perhaps a trip down yonder is in order.

Carilou said...

I'm catching up after a few blogs but let me get this straight.
Your donor baby is an Asian boy with herpes which makes you puke?
And your cat has defected to your mudder-in-law's side. And your friends take you to a steakhouse to eat knowing darn well that that rare meat is off limits?
Life can be so cruel.
Hoping things improve for you real soon. Also thinking of Liz and her family and you having to deal with this loss.

Tina said...
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