Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session IX

YAY! My neutrophils decided to be friends with me again. They came up enough for me to get my 9th treatment today. Only THREE more to go. I almost can't believe it.

So there was an Angel at the infusion center today. See, since I didn't expect to have to come in for treatment today, I didn't have company with me. No big deal, I was tired and I wanted to sleep through the treatment. BUT, I didn't bring myself lunch and I thought I was gonna be sorry about that 'cause I am usually hungry by 1pm... I'm lounging in my chair, trying to read a book - but kinda distracted 'cause my vision was a little bit blurry. And this lady comes up to me and asks me "Would you like lunch?" And I was like - "Um, just lunch - you're just giving away lunch?" And she was like "Yeah, no reason. I have ham, turkey or roast beef with all the trimmings." So I took her up on her offer and she brought me a plate with a ham sandwich, chips, pickles and a little chocolate cake. How nice is that! And she even came back and asked if I wanted seconds. She didn't say her name, but I asked one of the nurses what that was all about. She said that the Angel's husband was receiving treatment there at one time. After he passed away, she said she wanted to come back to give support to the patients so every last Thursday of the month, she comes in with lunch. She was really sweet. Really real. A real Angel.

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 9.2
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.7
12.0 16.0
HCT 36.3
34.0 47.0
Platelets 163
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 6.4
1.5 7.5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No chemo for you! Deja vu

I kinda thought this was gonna happen 'cause I forgot to take my neupogen shot on Monday night. I called in and they told me not to take the shot and to go ahead and come in 'cause the counts could come up...

Well, true story - my counts weren't high enough to get chemotherapy. My doctor and the head nurse were soooooo apologetic, it made me feel bad. Mostly because I wasn't stressed out or angry about it at all. I had to go in anyway to get my dressing changed on my PICC Line and I also got a FREE shot of neupogen while I was there. I rescheduled for tomorrow, so hopefully the counts are up to where they need to be then.

As for my PICC line, my arm isn't as sore as it was yesterday where it was installed, but it's kinda sore near my shoulder. The nurse thinks that this is probably where both the central line and the PICC line got "stuck". It's just a little tender - I can deal with it.

Good stuff of today - Lori came to spend time with me during my treatment and since I didn't have one, we had a loooooong lunch instead and had a good conversation! Sweet!

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 2.5
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.2
12.0 16.0
HCT 34.9
34.0 47.0
Platelets 161
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 0.9
1.5 7.5

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ouch that hurt.... AGAIN!

I was sooooooo nervous and scared about today. It's been on my mind all week and I don't know what I was so stressed about. I guess the thought of going in for a new line almost made it feel like I was starting all over again. I know I'm not, but my mind must be playing tricks on me. Either way, today didn't go as well as it could have, but I came out okay after all was said and done.

I went in for the procedure to install a PICC line in my arm to replace my central line that was in my chest. (These are the ports where I receive my chemotherapy - but my central line came out last week). Today's procedure was not considered a surgery and a nurse was able to perform the install. It reminded me a lot of the surgery I had for the first one and in case you don't remember how well that went (not) - then here's a link to that blog entry -Minor complications... Ouch! That hurts!

Here's what happened...

I went in at 1pm and didn't have to do anything really to prep for it except have breakfast and lunch and be hydrated. Easy enough. They used a sterile procedure so I was all covered with those blue drapes - three of them. My left arm was extended out so that the nurse could poke at me like they do when they give you an IV. Then she administered some numbing agent - which felt like itty bitty bee stings over and over. After that she pushed the PICC line tube through my arm and I could feel it go up towards my shoulder - not so much painful as a weird feeling. And then the line went towards my neck and kept getting "stuck" on something (that kinda hurt). She had to call another nurse in. They pulled it out and pushed it back in, and pulled it out and pushed it back in. This took at least an hour until one of the nurses thought they got it where they wanted it to be. The first nurse wasn't as sure of it.

I went for an X-Ray which confirmed - it didn't go right. The line went towards my other shoulder instead of down to my heart. Sound familiar? A repeat of my first surgery. So I had to go back and have them wiggle the wire in and out again. This time it really hurt. The numbing agent was wearing off and my arm was bruised and hurting where the line went in - right at the crease of it. My platelets are low, so the nurse said that affected the bleeding (increasing it a bit) - and so she applied a LOT of pressure too. I felt like crying and I swear I had tears in my eyes, but I didn't cry. I just said "ouch and owwwwwwwch" a lot.

I have a dressing that completely covers about 10 inches of my arm. Tomorrow I will go in for my 9th chemo and they should change it. We'll see if it's as.... as big then.

I'm so tired, I could have slept at the dinner table - so I think I'm going to bed now. Just thought I'd give a quick update.

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 3.0
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.3
12.0 16.0
HCT 38.8
34.0 47.0
Platelets 140
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 0.7
1.5 7.5

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ooops. I think I broke it...

Okay, I didn't break it, but it doesn't work anymore. It's not even there anymore. Maybe you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about 'cause my last post probably didn't make any sense. I'm talking about my central line or "port". For those of you who haven't been graced with the view of two tubes sticking out of my chest - that is what my central line is... umm, was. It's where they hooked the chemo up when I go in for treatments. I guess there's a few reasons for this. One is because the medication would jack up my veins if it was administered directly. So maybe the doctor didn't use the term "jack up" but that's what I heard. Another reason is because I need to wear a pump (aka banana phone) for two days after treatment and that's what they hook that puppy up to.

Last week I had my stitches taken out and the port was being held in place by a stat lock (sticky thing). Unfortunately, yesterday when I went to change the stat lock and was cleaning the area, the tube slipped out - alot... This morning I called and they said I would have to go in to get it checked. Then I went to clean it again and it slipped even more. The nurse told me that it only had about another inch and the whole thing would have came out! That would have FREAKED-ME-OUT! Thank God that didn't happen.

So they took the whole central line out. No more tubes in my chest. Just a big ol' bandage that I have to wear for 24 hours. I had a choice to make after that. I could either go in and get another central line in the same place which would require surgery again. Or, since I have only 4 more treatments (that's right, I said four!) - that's considered "short term treatment" now and I can get a PICC Line. It's the same thing, just in my arm. I wasn't really psyched about either option. If you recall, my first surgery for the central line kinda went whacky and had to be done a 2nd time. And getting something in my arm just sounds weird. But it's all weird I guess. The nurse recommended the PICC, plus it will cost less than another surgery - so I'm going with that. And here's a plus - I'm without any line until next Tuesday when I get the install. Yay! I can't tell you how cool it will be to be without that plastic installation - even for a week!

So that's what's up with me. What's up with you? :o)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session VIII

Wella wella yeah. Just got back from my EIGHTH chemotherapy treatment. Yesssssss! That means I am now 2/3 of the way through! Only four more treatments! Yes, I'm psyched about that.

Today went well..... especially since I didn't get checked in until I had already been there for three hours. Here's what happened - when I got to the waiting room, there was no one at the desk (kinda weird cause there's usually two people there). So I put my check-in papers in the check-in basket and have a seat. Then my nurse for the day (Patty) came in and picked up my papers, commented that it was weird no one was there to check me in, and took me back for my blood draw. While she was doing that I told her that my port was kinda bothering me. It was hurting when the tubes moved - which is pretty often actually. So she checked it. There are three "points of entry". One is the main line into my chest. And two are stitches holding the port in place. The stitches are what were bothering me and they looked pretty red. She said "well, they aren't infected - but they are mad!" That made me laugh. I don't know why my stitches would be mad at me, not sure what I did. Anyway, it was decided to take out the stitches (ouch) and let that area heal. So I now have this sticky thing that has a clip to hold everything in place. Feels muuuuuuuch better. Doesn't look so great, but awe well.

Wow - did that make any sense? I'd put a picture up, but not sure anyone wants to see all that! hahaha!

What else? Well I guess on my last post I mentioned, I finally got my energy back. The 2nd week went well... much better than the first! I decided this week to go back to my old medication regimen and deal with the "jittery" side effects from the steroids instead of being knocked out for 5 days.

  • Wed 7/30 to ??? - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • Tues 8/5 Pedicure! and then HH Birthday Celebration with Johnny
  • Wed 8/6 Hang out with Beth Roberts - a lil' bit of shopping!
  • Thu 8/7 Movie with Darren - Incredible Hulk
  • Fri 8/8 Lunch with my friend Lisa G and then - ROLLER DERBY w/Mondo, Marvin, Donna, Lisa R & Johnny! Fun!
  • Sat 8/9 My brother Mario's Summer BBQ - hangin' out with the family Rocks! But getting kinda worn down by this time...
  • Sun 8/10 Bridal Shower, BDay BBQ and then hangin' out with Yvette O
  • Mon 8/11 Darren's first day of school! 7th Grade! - Walk at the park with Beth R and then Starbucks... mmmmm - Lunch with Yvette S - BW3s w/Lindy, Brooke, Regina & Mondo. And the crazy balloon guy.
  • Tues 8/12 Walk at the park - Lunch with Fabian
PS - I died my hair black somewhere in between there...

Some pictures...
Matthew, me & Mondo

My cousin Dario & I went to PF Chang's before Comedy Works (Fri 8/1)

Jamiee & me - celebrating her brother Johnny's Bday

Johnny, getting a tan or blowing out candles. Happy Birthday!

Noticing the "good stuff" -
[x] Super Patty - She's an awesome nurse. She wasn't even supposed to do my blood draw, but she did it anyway. She's way attentive and responds to all my questions, requests and concerns.
[x] Company - My friend Linda Chisholm (from my small group) came and spent the day with me. It was awesome to catch up with her and hear about her trip to Sweden. And of course, she let me talk talk talk too. And she brought me lunch :o) Thanks Linda!
[x] Almost done - My chemo-friend Angelo was there and looked like he was doing better than last time. He only has one more treatment to go! Good for you Angelo!

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 9.1
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.1
12.0 16.0
HCT 35.7
34.0 47.0
Platelets 200
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 6.0
1.5 7.5

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm back!

Whoa.... feeling a bit more energetic - FINALLY...

Yesterday I got up and dyed my hair. It's a mess. It's pink. Really pink now. Yikes. And then I got ready, not that I had anything to do, but still - I got ready. I made dinner for the family and even took a walk to the park. Yay!

Today I'm going downtown for a bit and then out for my friend Johnny's Birthday - and cause it's Tuesday. Tuesday's are terrific by the way.... Yay!

Hey, here's a pic I played with Photoshop on - quad coloring. But my hair is really pink like the upper left corner.... hahaha!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Soooooo tired...

This is how my day went...