Today is one week since I finished round 2 of chemo. According to my oncologist (and from my experience the first time around) this is about the time side effects start setting in because my numbers are starting to drop more and more. When your blood count numbers are low, that means your immune system is compromised, so you are more susceptible to side effects. For example, this afternoon my extremities (hands, feet, head and nose) got really cold and they just wouldn’t warm up. I bundled up in my awesome neon pink Target robe (thank you Michelle!) and turned up the heat in my room. I wear my robe on my walks and you wouldn’t believe all the compliments I get.
I got confirmation today that I will be in the hospital (except for a few two-day visits at home) for at least the next 4-6 months. This is basically regardless of what kind of treatment plan my oncologist thinks is best. My two options will be either a bone marrow transplant or I go into remission (which then means I have to do “maintenance chemo”.) We (meaning me, Dave and my mom) all knew that fighting leukemia wasn’t a sprint but a marathon. But, by having Dr. Wareman say the words out loud, she really gave it some substance. Its really making me think. I wasn’t upset by the news. It was just more of an eye opener.
I feel like I have been bored and somewhat mindless the past few days. I know my main goal is to get better in here but it really tests your patience when you are confined to a place and you can’t do as you please. I spend my days pretty much mindless things – reading books, watching tv, playing Candy Crush, doing word finds and going for walks. Of course I work on my blog as well. This blog is an outlet for me and it gives me a purpose. Thank goodness for my mom who comes and is with me the majority of each day and Dave who comes every night after work. But knowing that I am going to have an extended period of time in here, I really feel the need to have something to do that has a purpose or goal. So if anyone has any brilliant online business ideas that I can do while sitting in my hospital bed, please share!
I finished my second round of chemo Friday night around midnight. I was glad to have that over – not that I got sick or was uncomfortable but its more of a mental accomplishment. I am one step closer to getting treatment over and there is something about being CONSTANTLY hooked up to a machine. During chemo, I was only unhooked for about 10 minutes a day so that I could shower. I would get clean and change my clothes and then Mr. Buddy Braun was my pal once again.
Everyone keeps asking, “What is the plan?” Good question. This is what I know so far – and remember things can always change. My oncologist, Dr. Wareman, will do another bone marrow biopsy in about 2 weeks from now. The biopsy entails her literally hammering into my back above my right or left hip to get samples of my bone marrow. All I have to say is THANK GOD for morphine. She will get the results back from the biopsy 3-4 days after that. If there are no blasts (leukemia cells) then I believe I just go onto maintenance chemo and may have an opportunity to go home at some point. (I’m not sure how that all works.) If there are blasts left, then we consider a bone marrow transplant. Transplants are actually pretty common and sometimes the preferred treatment option for leukemia patients. They would clear out ALL of my bone marrow through a super-charged type of chemo then give me new bone marrow from a donor. Its kind of like wiping the slate clean and starting all over. So, for now, I’m just dealing with lovely little side effects that come with having chemo and waiting to find out how my body responds to this latest round of chemo.
Speaking of bone marrow transplants…when you get a transplant, you obviously need a donor. The best chance of finding a match is if you have a sibling. Lucky for me I do! My brother, Braydon, who is 4 years younger than me, agreed to donate his marrow if we are a match. (He better have said yes or I would have kicked his you-know-what like I did when we were little. We played a lot of WWF Wrestling.) Testing for a match and the actual donation process is basically painless. I think back in the day it was a lot more involved, so we are lucky to have made such strides in medical treatments and technology. Braydon got to hear all of this information straight from my oncologist because he came from Chicago this past weekend to visit. I was glad he got to meet Dr. Wareman firsthand and hear how the procedure would go if he is indeed a match.
Uncle Braydon & Grady
The visit with Braydon was great. He and I stay in touch through talking and texting but I hadn’t actually seen Braydon in about a year and a half. He came up to the hospital for the majority of the three days he was here. He got to enjoy the super comfy hospital lounge chair. (I go all out for my visitors!) We just chatted, went for walks and enjoyed multiple episodes of mindless tv, such as American Restoration on the History Channel. (Its actually an interesting show. It is set in Las Vegas and is a spin-off of Pawn Stars. We learned a lot about old Harleys, Coca-Cola machines and trains.)
Just a quick reminder, t-shirts are now available for order again. Many people missed the ordering deadline the first time around and wanted to know if they could still get shirts. Well, here is your opportunity! You have until November 11th to order and they will be delivered straight to you by Thanksgiving. Thank you in advance for all of your support.
Kiddos supporting their momma!
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