Sunday, March 7, 2010

Consolidation Treatment: Two Down, One or Two to Go

It looks like I picked a good week to be in the hospital, or rather, an even better week to get out. Last week was the big thaw from the winter blast, cold and rainy. I came home yesterday from my second week-long chemo treatment of this consolidation phase, and today I was able to take a short walk and drink in a little sun. What an often overlooked treat it is just to get outside for a bit. There's nothing like being in the hospital for a week to make you feel like a sick person.

The week went pretty much as expected -- Sick on the days of chemo (days 1, 3 and 5) from all the poison and pre-medications, a little better on the off days. My recovery was faster this time because I was only given about 60% of what I got last time. Hopefully, that will prevent my counts from bottoming out completely, leaving me vulnerable to things like pneumonia (don't need a repeat of last month!) and other infections. Of course my counts will drop in about a week. That's the point of decimating my bone marrow with poison every month. But hopefully, all I will need are some transfusions to get me through days 14-21 when things are likely to be the hardest. After that, it will be time for another bone marrow biopsy in order to run some super sophisticated DNA tests to see if any markers for leukemia show up (like the upside down chromosome, known as inversion 16). If not, then I'll only have to have one more treatment. At most, I'll have to have two.

I know I shouldn't get my hopes up for just one more treatment, but it's too late for that. I really have to steel myself to pack up my suitcase and back up food supplies, arrange for being away from my kitty, Sadie, and prepare myself for a week of feeling like crap. Even watching TV isn't an appealing diversion. They always mount the TV too high, so it's uncomfortable to watch for very long. There's a guide to tell you what channels are offered, but not what shows are on and the times. And worse yet, no TIVO or DVR to fast forward during commercials. My only hope is to catch an E-Trade baby commercial. I could read or watch DVDs on my computer, but only if I'm well enough to sit and remain conscious.

And the food. Don't get me started. Depression sets in when they bring the menu for the next day. I'm so glad to be back to my fresh berries, real salads, and soy ice cream with crushed pecans (a nightly ritual). For all my complaining, I have to remember that these hospital stays are necessary and will keeping me in remission, hopefully forever. And they make coming home to Sadie all the better. Now that she's approaching her first birthday next month, she's in her rebellious teenage years. It's quite entertaining, and somewhat distressing, to see what mischief she uncovers over the course of a week. Yesterday I discovered some crooked display plates on top of my kitchen cabinets, just below the ceiling. How in the world...?

Most importantly, coming home means that one more treatment is over. Spring is almost here, time is passing (both quickly and slowly, it seems), and I can now see the light at the end of this unthinkable tunnel. As I watch the news every night, I can't help but realize how lucky I am to have an end to this tunnel. So many people don't. Life is good (Pura Vida!), but life is hard. For some people it seems to be filled with tragedy, punctuated with periods of happiness. For those of us who are blessed with more, we owe it to those people to live as hard as we can, while we can. It gives new meaning to taking in a little sun on a Sunday afternoon.



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the latest. Such a long road for you, but it is great to see that you have done a great job of trying to keep your spirits up. As you said, the light is at the end of the tunnel and spring and summer are almost here! Good luck with all and that special kitty of your!
    Julie F.


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