Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steroids, Week 6





I've almost reached the six week mark on steroids, and so I thought I'd post a picture. The puffiness is much worse in person, and much more evident in profile. I am not exaggerating. If you've been on high-dose steroids for any length of time, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I also saw my local oncologist today. He pronounced me normal and questioned one of the drugs that I'm on. It's the anti-fungal that I take as a prophylaxis because of the steroids. I'll continue on it until I stop the steroids.

As for my blood-work, here it is:
My numbers followed by the normal ranges:

WBC: 13.1 k/ul (4.5-10.8)

RBC: 4.32 M/UL (4.2-5.4)

Hemoglobin: 14.1 g/dl (12-16)

Platelets: 171 k/ul (150-350)

ALC: 2.0 k/ul (1.3-2.9)

ANC: 10.1 k/ul (1.5-10.0)

Bilirubin: 0.4 mg/dL (0.2-1.0)

Alk phos: 35 iu/L (32-92)

AST/SGOT 18 iu/L (10-42)

ALT/SGPT 49 iu/L (10-40)

Magnesium: 1.6 mg/dL (1.7-2.8)

My numbers continue to trend in the right direction. I can't tell you how pleased I am that my white blood-cells, platelets, and absolute neutrophil count are trending down. My magnesium is low, but it's at an acceptable level for my transplant doctor and the entire reason for today's local visit. It was far too low two weeks ago thanks to the elevated levels of tacrolimus in my system. Low magnesium can cause serious heart problems for transplant patients, not to mention the debilitating leg cramps that come part and parcel with the deal.

As a side note, I'm still waking every hour or so with leg and foot cramps which is really wrecking my days. I've decided to go up on my magnesium dosage to compensate and see if any thing comes of it. I'll let my transplant doctor know when I see her next. Of course, I know that the muscle cramps can also be a side effect of steroids and since I'm also having problems with cramps in my hands, I know that low magnesium may not be the sole culprit.

My liver function is almost perfectly normal. Can you see me smiling from here? Dr. B.'s equipment isn't as sensitive as the cell counter at MDA, but the scale of normal versus today's numbers is so negligible, I'm going to give it a pass. It's close enough and I'll take it.

I still have a problem with tremors. It's not as pronounced as it was two weeks ago, but it's still fairly obvious. A look at my class notes would out me. They're just legible.

Overall, I'm really pleased. If my numbers can remain stable and Dana's immune system continues to settle in, I should be able to continue the steroid taper. By my estimate, if I continue to taper every two weeks, then I should only have another ten weeks left. It usually takes my appearance six or seven months to lose the Cushing's fullness that I always develop to the extreme. I'll be patient.

4 comments:

Stephanie Burbank said...

Hi Ann,

I just came across your blog tonight and have read quite a bit of your story. You are just amazing. I am sure you have people tell you that all the time. My daughter is going in for a BMT in a month... She has been fighting leukemia since 2007 and relapsed in August 2010... it seems the BMT is our only hope. I have many questions if you ever have a free minute to email me, I would greatly appreciate it. sburbank35@aol.com

You can follow my blog at this same blogging site: ataleoftwocancers

Stephanie

stinkerbelle said...

Awww, now Ann! You don't look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy or the puffy guppy (goldfish)! You may think you do, but WE don't! Hang in there! Things are moving in the right direction!

PJ said...

That fish is priceless. I'm feeling more like doughboy at the moment.

Those are great numbers.

Jim said...

Great counts and I agree with stinkerbelle.