Monday, September 17, 2012

time after SCT

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Sat early a.m. 28th
Friday I had chemo, did pretty well thru it but around 7pm I got dizzy again. Went to bed around 10pm and was still dizzy but when I woke at 1:30am I wasn’t dizzy anymore. I had the most pleasant experience at this point.  As I lay in my bed I felt like I was being cradled in the arms of my Heavenly Father. If you can picture a set of hands cupped together with me lying in the middle; that is exactly where I felt I was. It was the most peaceful feeling I think I have ever known. I spent time with my Father, had a little snack (Ensure again and a rice cake), was able to have a private time in the bathroom, and fell peacefully to sleep. Dr. Burt should be in to see me in the morning, hopefully he will be pleased and hopefully my numbers are going in the right direction. I don’t know what are in the plans for tomorrow with the meds; maybe just some antibiotics. So far; so good. Good night. Thank you Lord, you’ve been such a blessing.
If someone wants to know the plain truth of why I feel the way I do about my belief, it’s so simple. Knowing in your heart, in your very being, that there is a God that made the heavens and earth; and that He sent His son to die on a cross as a sacrifice, for you, for me, for anyone to be forgiven of our sins and share a place in heaven with Him. If you believe that, it is so uncomplicated and it gives you a peace that goes beyond all understanding. Then you know you have a place for eternity and are in a right relationship with the Father. It is such a comfort, so overwhelmingly peaceful. 

Woke up with hunger pangs, as I didn’t eat a lot today (yesterday really) so I have some Ensure on the table and asked for a cup of ice to help. Feel better in the tummy and helped my headache too which could be because I was hungry or because I wear my eye mask around my head all night! Nothing like having something wrapped around your head all night, but if you don’t it’s hard to sleep. Now, little bendy straws present a problem with drinking the Ensure; when you drink from them, they want to drip little brown spots on your nice, clean gown and it looks like you’re lactating chocolate milk! Ha ha ha. Well, you know, we are in a women’s hospital with lots of babies, so…guys, I don’t know about you but we women have a good excuse!

Sat, April 28th 6am
The wind is blowing like crazy, not sure if it’s raining or sleeting or snowing! But, it is definitely windy. I haven’t turned on the tv or asked anyone yet, but I will. No sunrise this morning, it’s covered by clouds, but there is definitely one in my heart. 

Got woke up about 4am with news that my hemocrat count was at 7.7 so I had to have 2 units of blood and some potassium, the potassium part isn’t unusual for me. Got that right away, but it takes a while for the blood to come up from pharmacy. Once that got running, I started to feel a bit better, I was definitely feeling like a weak little puppy there for a while.

Had a most beautiful sunrise this morning! After the aide helped me to the bathroom, I could see the sun through the screen of my window just getting prettier and prettier, I managed to get up and go over to lift up the screen (blinds of a sort) and I took about 10 pictures. Oh, the Glory of the Lord in the morning, it was just beautiful and really blessed me.

 Day +2 today, I am neutropenic now, counts are at .6 that means the numbers are going where they are supposed to.  And I feel good, I really am feeling good; I know it’s all in the good Lord’s hands.
My nurse, Alex, just brought in my blood results and I am officially neutropenic; “TLTC” Too Low To Count. That means being extra cautious, washing hands, keeping clean, vitals every 4 hours instead of every 8 hrs. If I walk the halls, I have to wear gown, gloves and a mask. And visitors must be extra careful too. This is just as expected and numbers are where they should be at this point! I’m smiling!!

Sunday, April 29th
Dr Burt just came in, we talked about how I was feeling and that I will be getting another unit of blood today. We were also talking about the sunrise and he said something I found very special and want to share it with you. He was telling me how he loves to watch the sunrise over the lake whenever he can; he says it’s like “watching a moving mural from God”. 

Monday, April 30th
Last day of the month, feel really good today! Overnight, there was a minor issue that God took care of as only He can! My nurse Alex was going to tell the PCT Carmellita to let me sleep until blood draw time of 3am instead of waking me at the 4 hour time of 1:30am for vitals, but she forgot (that was the God part). So, while Carmellita was taking my vitals, Alex came in to do the blood draw at this earlier time and it was good thing because my lines were clogged and she had to order certain “cleaning out” fluid which has to sit in the lines for an hour to break down the clog. If she had come in at the 3am time instead of the earlier time, she would not have gotten the blood draw in time for the early morning reading that has to be down to the lab by a certain time! Thank you Lord!!
While I was awake I had an Ensure and a couple of rice cakes because I was hungry! I guess having something to eat is a good thing; it will help me get stronger, yeah! I was also able to sit in the bathroom and take care of that business in private. I sure hope when this is all over and I’m out of here I don’t wake up at 3am to go to the bathroom! But, for now, let it come when it may.

I was able to go back to sleep and I slept until 5:45am. It was cloudy this morning so I wasn’t able to get a sunrise picture today but that’s okay, you can’t have a beautiful sunrise every morning but it’s still a beautiful day – This is the day the Lord has made, and I shall rejoice and be glad in it! 

Tuesday, May 1st
Starting about 7pm last night, boy did I get a headache. It started just slightly but by 8pm it was much worse, so I went to sleep. Woke up about 9 and it was a little more; probably put it at a 7 out of 10 pain wise, so I called in the nurse and got some Zophran for my tummy, because that was a little iffy too. She called the doctor on call and he just wanted to give me some Tylenol, well I wanted to laugh; Tylenol doesn’t do anything for me, so I got some Norco and I slept pretty good, waking occasionally with the headache at about a level 4. All I have to say to those who do this behind me, is don't try to be superman; if it starts to hurt or you get nausea, ask for medicine! It it's bothering you, they have a pill for that! haha! Actually, it's much easier on you if you can stop the pain/nausea before it gets too bad than wait and have to fix it later and it takes more meds to help.
When I woke this morning about 4:30am to visit the bathroom, I just felt lighter like I had lost a lot of my body fluids. My feet and toes felt better and my stomach felt smaller too. I was retaining a lot of fluids and my feet and lower legs were really swollen. My poor little toes looked like sausage links. I don’t know if it helped, but I lay upside down on the bed with the head of the bed elevated so that my feet were elevated too! My mom and mother-in-law used to do this when they felt bloated in the legs/feet and I thought it might be worth a try! It seems to have worked pretty well!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Birthday and beyond....

Thursday, April 26th
STEMMIES GOING IN TODAY!! What an exciting day! It is a bit like Thanksgiving dinner, you work hard and long to get this most beautiful feast together, hours are spent prepping, baking pies, and peeling vegetables, cutting, chopping, slicing, and carving. You set a pretty table with your best china and your best silverware. You use the crystal glasses and put all the food in your special serving bowls with the really big spoons. The centerpiece of the table has to be perfect and appropriate for the event. Everyone’s been invited and you gather around the table for a good prayer of thanks, sit down to eat and.... it’s over in 20 minutes!
The first to come in of the transplant team is the man with my frozen batch of stem cells. He is quiet and professional. I tell him I have heard about him from others, that he is “the quiet one” and I am rewarded with a smile. He gets busy thawing out my cells (runs them under the hot water in the sink) and then the rest of the “team” comes in. My nurse to do the honors today is Eric. He starts setting up the equipment on the IV pole for the infusion to begin. Dr. Burt, Amy and Dr. Hahn join the crowd and the process begins! Amy stayed with me the whole time, but the others ran in and out after the cells finished running in to me; only took about 25 minutes. They have to monitor me pretty closely, taking vitals every 15 minutes. I did very well through it all and had no issues at all.
                                 Dr. Han, Dr. Burt, Amy (RN) & me after my cells were administered
 It was a very emotional day, in a good way. I got good mail, a book about sisters from my sister that she added a bunch of pictures of the two of us and our Mom and her sisters to the pages that just had me bawling my eyes out. I also got a great gift from my friend Shelley from Arizona that was befitting of the day. She sent me 3 stretchy headbands made of beads to dress up my head, they are so cute. With this present, she sent a card that touched my heart. It was a picture of a beautiful white long-haired cat with a tall crystal crown on its head. It represents to me being a princess and daughter of the King! 

I was hungry after the transplant; even though I thought I would need a nap, I didn’t. I laid there for a while trying to fall asleep but that didn’t happen, so I said I’ll have some turkey and cheese on 1 leaf of lettuce (chuckle) and some chocolate ice cream and ginger ale for burps. And, by the way, the chemo gas is pew…strong and not just air; so you need to protect your panties folks! They do have underwear liners that are of good size (after all it is a Women’s Hospital for having babies) that will take care of it.  Gonna go for a walk now…later.

Chemo nightmares!! Not a pleasant experience. I was told about the nightmares ahead of time but didn’t really think about them before they happened. The good part about them was I played the “hero” in my dreams! I had to save the world from a fire that came up from the pit of the earth. I actually “dug” myself into the middle of the fire to bring up dry earth to put it out. Yeah, me! In the next one, I saved another patient who checked himself out of the hospital, pulled out his picc line and was driving away from the hospital. He was stopped by a cop and I came along just in time to keep him from either being arrested or bleeding out! I got him back into the ER just in the nick of time!  There was a 3rd dream, but I don’t remember that one, but I’m sure I saved more lives! I’m so healthy with all my new stem cells in me that I can take on the world!! However, when I woke also had the shakes and diarrhea and a sore bottom to go along with it. Saving the world is hard work!
                                            My future is so bright, I gotta wear shades!! 

Friday, April 27th
I woke up this morning with a tummy ache, nothing major but just not feeling too good. Ate my breakfast, vanilla yogurt and a not much else. Had to take the usual bunch of pills (about 6 of them) and uh oh, here it comes! Caught the first little bit in my hands and fortunately my nurse, Stephanie, was in the room! She ran to the bathroom to get the pretty pink tub for me to upchuck in! There went all my pills in round two! She ran back and forth with about 3 different tubs for me because when you upchuck yogurt, the smell is enough to make you upchuck more! She brought me a wet washcloth too to clean up several times between vomiting, bless her heart. She hustled so quick back and forth between me and the bathroom to throw out the vomit and wash out the tub and get me a clean one for the next round, it was amazing! She would have won a marathon! She did in my book!! I haven’t thrown up for many years, since my girlfriend Tanya and I had food poisoning. I don’t have to remind myself it isn’t pleasant.
                                                        My girlfriend Tanya
After that I was relieved to not have to take my pills again until a later time and I got some Zophran thru my picc line and it was my friend from then on whenever I started to feel nauseous, I would get some. Today I was introduced, by recommendation of my nurse, to Ensure! What a good thing this was, I loved it and over lots of ice it is just delicious! Gives you a good amount of protein and helps you have more energy since you don’t feel much like eating at this point. It almost tastes like a treat; like pudding in liquid form. Delicious! 

 more later....