If you think you are having a tough day...
Saturday at 4 South is not as busy as during the week I am finding out. There are far less people and therefore far less alarms going off and noises that people make when in pain or while being sick. I actually slept through the night.
I was informed this morning that my platelets were very low and had dropped to 6 (normal being 150-450) and that I would need a platelet transfusion. My hemoglobin is holding at 8 and while well under the low normal of 12, it is acceptable and does not yet warrant another blood transfusion.
The fever has been kept at bay with the IV antibiotics that are running regularly and it appears that the culprit that grew out was gram positive rods. Not really sure what that means other than I have a bacteria that got into my blood, likely from my bowel. I was told this is fairly common in patients who have zero white blood cells and diarrhea from chemo.
The weekend physician also informed me that I will have to remain here until my counts recover. My counts as of this morning are, "at least measurable" as was told to me, with my WBC's being 0.1 and my ANC being 0.5. I have a ways to go to reach the discharge goal of 500, the doctor thinks at least until Monday.
Due to my declining weight and lack of appetite I have been put on a new feeding regimen which basically consists of undoing everything I used to do. I was told to start "eating distractedly" with the TV on or while working on a computer, to eat high fat, high calorie as well as high protein foods. I am to purposefully pair a high calorie food with a high protein food and use the clock as my guide when to eat. I seriously have no desire for food and do not think about it therefore a day can go by and I will not have eaten if left to my own devices. I now have scheduled snacks coming throughout the day and if I am unable to eat an actual meal I have been instructed to eat a bite or two every 30-60 minutes. This should sound like fun, but it actually sounds like a lot of work to me.
I am a strong believer in the adage, "If you think you are having a tough day..." I met someone yesterday who reminded me with her story that there is always someone out there whose issues may be greater than yours. This woman's story touched me and makes all my current woes seem petty and overstated. Not that they are not real and burdonsome, just that it was a good reminder to keep perspective.
Ten years ago this woman was 33 weeks pregnant with triplets when she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. She gave birth, then had a mastectomy. The doctor allowed her to keep one breast for two months so that she could nurse her three newborns before she returned to surgery to have her other breast removed. Through our conversation I concluded that she was likely early to mid-30's when this happened. She did not allow this to become the definition of who she was however and after recovering from the surgeries and chemotherapy she went back to school and is now an oncology nurse with ten year old triplets. I am so humbled.
I have been Blessed again with another angel among us. This amazing, inspirational woman reminded me that life is not given to us neatly wrapped with a bow on top. It is messy and unpredictable and at times, ugly. But we are all fortunate for the gift.
Thank you all again for your blood and platelet donations, as I have said before, the life you are saving could be mine. Perhaps it is your platelets I am recieving right now (I really am writing this while receiving my platelet infusion).
Another big shout out to my UPS man - I was home earlier this week when he dropped off a package. He didn't see that I was home so asked Jody how I was doing. I popped my head off the couch and we chatted for a few minutes. He again told me to, "kick its butt." We have a great UPS man.
I love you guys - thank you for walking this journey with me, one step at a time.