Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another week

I saw my local oncologist for my monthly check-up today. He told me I was a star patient and that my blood work was the most normal he's ever seen it. For those who are interested in the numbers, here you go:

WBC: 8.5 k/ul

RBC: 4.01 M/UL, normal is between 4.2-5.4 M/UL

PLT: 390 k/ul

ALC: 1.8 k/ul

AEC: 0.8 k/ul, this reading tells my transplant doctor that I'm living with mild, chronic GvHD.

ANC: 5.9 k/ul

Alk phos: 140 iu/L, normal is between 32-92 iu/L

AST/SGOT: 25 iu/L

ALT/SGPT: 39 iu/L

The last three numbers are indicators of what's happening with my liver. It's been over a year since the last two were in the normal range. I'm so close to normal with my Alk phos and I'm hoping that it's only a matter of time. Maybe I was suffering with uber-mild GvHD of the liver and now it's clearing up. Maybe it was one of my medications. Who knows, but I'm thrilled to see things returning to normal.

My local doctor and I have reached the point where there's not a lot to discuss health wise. He checks me for all of the usual things and takes a look at my hands to gauge the graft versus host disease affecting them. It all takes less than ten minutes. I'm beginning to wonder when I can space my visits further apart.

Next month, I go to Houston to be assessed for my eighteen month milestone. This one's a big deal since I only made thirteen months with my last transplant. This is the one where I get to stick a flag in the ground and move forward just the slightest bit.

As for taking classes, I'm still waiting. I checked my LSU account and saw that a decision has been reached, but I have to wait to be notified by mail. So far, I haven't received anything and I'm beginning to climb the walls in boredom.

I have a finite number of friends who appreciate crafty gifts. At the moment, I have four things in the works and I'm beginning to get burned out on the whole "keep yourself entertained shtick". I'll post pictures of those things once they're done and in the mail to their intended craft victims.

A few weeks ago, I made a decision regarding my fitness level. Compared to other transplant patients at the same month marker, it's stellar. Compared to your average four year old, it's not so hot. Add in that I'm post-menopausal thanks to all of the chemo and you have the makings for a walking disaster. I don't want to break a hip before I'm forty and I hate that I struggle with lifting a gallon of milk above shoulder height--I'm 5'2" and the milk goes on the top shelf of the fridge, in case you were wondering.

I'm starting out slowly by holding myself accountable to certain fitness goals. I'm going to try to get ten miles of running in each week. I won't beat myself up if I don't hit it everytime, but I need to be close. I'm running every other day for at least forty minutes. I'm also doing twenty-five minutes of strength training on the run days. The days that I don't run, I'm doing forty-five minutes of core/strength training.

My lower body is so sore from the workouts that I wouldn't be able to outrun a rabid sloth at the moment. I know it will get easier with time and I'm hopeful that there may be a 5K in my distant future. I'm not looking to get beach-body ready. I just want a healthy heart and mind and I believe this is going to help.

Now, because I promised my friend Lisa, here's a current picture of what's happening on the top of my head. Most of you will notice that I've been non-compliant and colored away my gray. I'll confess to it next month when I see Dr. K. again.


Jim said...


Normal is good and keep up the great running! Jim

Dianne and David said...

I would say that you look Beautiful. My daughter colored her hair, too. Her liver functions are up, too. Other than that she looks great and works out at a gym. She takes birth control pills to help with her hormone level. I am sure you will hear good news soon about school. Her transplant hospital is in Phoenix so when she goes for checkups she trys to visit some of the patients and I think it helps them to see that you can be NORMAL again..


Cat said...

I'm with the others. You're beautiful. Your normalcy is beautiful. Your workout goals are fantastic. I've challenged my friends to keep up with you, because you're doing far more than some of them are.

You amaze me. Thank you for your inspiration.

Lisa Adams said...

I love when I ask for pictures and you comply. Seriously, it puts the BIGGEST smile on my face. You are so beautiful, and your big smile only adds to it.

I am so embarrassed when I look at your fitness level, Ann. Mine is so pathetic compared to yours. My chemo has affected my cardiac output I know, but when I see what you do... well, I just shake my head and send you a high five. I will use you as inspiration to push myself more. I wish we could encourage each other in person. I have a feeling we'd have fun.

I'm so glad your numbers were good... and I'll be following you every step of the way.

Sonia said...

You look great! Good luck with the fitness plan.

Susan C said...

Oh, man. I've got to back into a regular workout routine again. I have no excuses.

PJ said...

Boy do I have to get on the ball regarding exercise. You continue to inspire me!

Speaking of which, I'm coloring my hair today, a medium blonde. Wish me luck!

Nancy said...

Dear Ann, I see you are inspiring a lot of people to get fit, myself included. The only thing I've been doing is achieving my 10,000 steps a day, religiously. Nothing else.... Someday, hopefully soon, I'll step up my exercise routine.

You look absolutely beautiful and so cute. You've lost that cute prednisone puffiness... you are strikingly beautiful!!!

Take care & good luck with LSU!!!

love, nancy

Ann said...

I wanted to thank all of you for your kind comments. It's your continual support that pushes me to keep challenging myself. You guys are the best support group anyone could ever wish for.

Daria said...

Oh you look so good ...

Rosa said...

You look great, keep it up! So good to hear the positive updates. I am cancer free two years this week! My worst side effect from chemo was heat, cold sweats, and insomnia. I work for ChiliTechnology so started using one of these and it was a great help to me: ChiliPad (it's a mattress pad that lets you cool the bed down to any temperature you set - it has a range from 46 to 118 degrees). I also went on a macrobiotic diet, which really helped with detoxing from the chemo. The other thing I did that was really important to my healing was watch tons of stand-up comedy. I really believe laughter is the best medicine. Hope these tips help someone!