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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Don't ask me to pronounce the middle word . . . I just know it belongs in there.

The hospital stay was for seven days. The chemo I was started on was for 2000 MG and increased to 3000 MG when the count would not go down. I did have to go through a bone marrow biopsy. Everything you have heard about how painful it is is absolutely TRUE! First, I did hype myself up for it. I was prepared for excruciating pain. First, they give you a lollipop with pain killer in it. It was sweet and tasted like grape. I was determined to suck every last drop from that lollipop! lol Once that is finished, they roll you over on your side. Nina was there with me for the biopsy. Thank goodness for her! Once I was rolled over on my side with my butt sticking out for the entire world to see, Dr. Bland proceeded to inject my hip with a local anesthetic to numb the area. Nina states she used several three inch nails to inject the area and I did fill the first prick but it wasn't much. Dr. Bland massaged the area I guess to spread the local about and numb the entire area. Nina then describes a much longer wide needle was inserted and I could actually feel something scraping inside of me. Dr. Bland had a hard time inserting the needle into the bone. Dr. Cruz had shown up at just that time to explain to Nina what was going on with my treatment. He made her cry! She wanted to know when I would get to go home and he assured her the best place for me was in the hospital for medical assistance in case I had a stroke because I was very likely to have one if the white blood count was not brought down. I had the same headache from Thursday so when he stated this I got freaked out and realized the urgency in getting the white cell count down! I could have stroked out at any moment. Also, because the blood was so thick I was having trouble getting oxygen into my body and that explained the shortness of breath. Anyway, Dr. Bland suggested radiology since she could not get the needle into my hip bone. Dr. Cruz had to assist and performed his first biopsy in five years! It was pointed out I was special! Didn't make it any less painful. He informed me when he was in with the needle and Nina described it as a six-inch tool. I did feel the bone marrow being pulled out and trust me on this one . . . . it was VERY PAINFUL. Not as painful as I had hyped myself up for but nonetheless painful. When it was all over, Dr. Cruz explained my bone mass was just so thick it made the retrieving the bone marrow difficult. So I was doubly special.

Then, because I had so much nausea and vomiting from the chemo and the constant blood being drawn, they decided to insert a PIC line. I think that is how it is abbreviated. It has three openings, one for the IV, second for blood to be drawn and the third one for medication. I was receiving two of the anti-nausea medications through injections . . . and yes . . . blood drawn every 8 hours! I am amazed they could get anything out the last time they attempted to draw blood! Lilly got to witness the PIC line being inserted. First they do an ultrasound on your arm to find a good strong vein. Then, they cover you up so you cannot see anything but they say it is to keep the area sterile. It also proved more difficult than usual because again, it is pointed out I have thick skin! Once again, I am special! Having the PIC inserted after the biopsy . . . was not painful at all! lol But it still hurt a little. It actually hurt more when it was removed on my last day of the hospital stay. Nina was there for the removal and she made a face that made me turn to look at what was being drawn and the PIC line was L - O - N - G! Once I saw it, my arm started to hurt! I hadn't had pain until I saw it. After the PIC line was inserted I couldn't understand why there was so much concern about it being too close to the heart. It was this little plug on my arm! Hindsight being 20/20 and all! :-\

There was this wonderful anti-nausea medication they gave me through the PIC line called Phernegren or something like that. That stuff KNOCKED ME OUT! I loved it! :) When they gave it to me at night, I didn't feel them when they came in to take my stats. We could have had a tornado during the night and I would not have awakened for it!

Hospital food was not too bad. Something about eating three regular meals that really helps the body because I normally am not a good eater! I mean I have breakfast because I am a breakfast person but the rest of the day I do not eat at a regular set time or even a solid meal!

At one point, I had a cocktail of seven meds. I forget what they were now but there was the chemo, anti-nausea medication, antibiotic because I had developed an infection as a side effect from one of the meds, a blood thinner, iron for the anemia . . . because on top of all that . . . I was also anemic and the anemia contributed to the shortness of breath and fatigue, Prevacid for stomach acids and something else they were giving me to keep . . . I forgot the name of the acid but it start with a U and if there is a build up of it can cause pain in the joints and I think it is called gout when that happens. I know people with gout and I DO NOT WANT IT either!

I had to sleep in a bed where the mattress rolled and massaged my body and was very noisy. The bed was to prevent bed sores because one of the things they didn't want me doing was walking around on my own because of the meds. Any one of them made me dizzy and lightheaded! More so than I normally am! lol ;) At night I had to strap on these boots that massaged my legs to keep blood clots from forming in my legs. It was all just a thrill . . . . really!

I am home now . . . taking 1500 MGs of the chemo. I had my first lab today. Haven't heard anything from the lab and so I figure no news is good news! :) I didn't get to get a date for going back to work. I hope soon cause I am going stir crazy! The peach of a supervisor . . . . let me tell you what he had to say when I called him to tell him I was in the hospital. First, I started with reminding him how I had missed work of late and he immediately goes into a tirade that I had not told him I would be out of the office on Friday but someone had informed him. I interrupted him to tell him that was not what I was referring to but instead to the days of absence due to headaches, fatigue and upset stomach. He points out yes, you have missed a lot of work since the new year. :-\ I told him we now had a reason for my absences and I informed him I had chronic leukemia. He proceeds to say good now we know why and keep me informed. I have written he is a PEACH! :-\ When I called him to inform him I was being dismissed from the hospital, he barked back I was not to come to the office until I had a FULL MEDICAL RELEASE and this had been sent to me already. Hadn't I received it? I reminded him I had been in the hospital and did not have access to email. He barks NO, IT WAS MAILED! So, again, I point out I have been in the hospital and had not been home to check my mail. :-\ I cannot wait to get back to the office! The only thing I know is he will not be allowed to fire me because it is against the law to do so but I am thinking I will have to be very careful to dot my i's and cross my t's. :-\ Boy howdy! I am also taking iron for the anemia and Prilosec for the stomach acids. I was also given two prescriptions for anti-nausea but haven't really had reason to use these yet. I am saving them . . . . just in case! :( I have good days and bad days. Sunday was a bad day physically. I woke with fatigue and had shortness of breath all day. Yesterday, I was quite emotional . . . really, . . . almost to the point of hysteria at times! :( But aside from that, it has been almost if all last week was just a nightmare . . . I keep thinking I should have pain or feel sick but I don't . . . . not really . . . . I am reminded many years ago I had a nurse tell me cancer does not hurt . . . but something about the idea you have cancer in your body makes you think you should be in pain . . . . IDK . . . . maybe it is just me. Anyway, I am following MD's orders because I want to get well! I have lots of things to do . . . . I have a great deal of faith that in 10 to 20 years someone would have discovered something new for treatment . . . . I am strong . . . . I am woman . . . . I am invincible! I know this because Nina tells me so! lol ;)

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