Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lazy day doodlings.

Quick refresher: This past Monday, I began my seventh and Final! module of chemotherapy. I have gone through this module before, way back in March. This time, however, I am doing it all outpatient, as opposed to before, when I was in the hospital. This round is prophylactic, targeting the central nervous system, which is one of the main places leukemia recurs, if it comes back. There are no leukemic cells in my spine or CNS right now, and this chemo is just to ensure that none will show up there. Hopefully, my cancer is cured and I won't have to worry about recurrence. But erring on the side of caution, I receive a lumbar puncture and spinal tap every other week for six weeks, along with IV chemo and pill chemo. The specific drug is called methotrexate, and it can be toxic to the body if it stays in too long. So the doctors give the drug 48 hours to do its thing, and then I start taking more pills to flush it out. Last time I went through this, I had trouble clearing the chemo. My kidneys decided it would be super cool to stop functioning, and I was in the hospital for, I think, two weeks before I finally cleared the stuff.

The fantastic news is that, now, everything is going very smoothly. As of Thursday morning, my methotrexate levels had fallen below the dangerous threshold, and all of my bloodwork looks great. Even though I have to get three spinal taps, I'd say this module is one of the more bearable ones. My blood counts won't fall, my hair (fuzzy as ever) won't fall out again, and aside from a day or two of not wanting to move, I generally feel healthy. I have a ton of stuff to do over the next four or five weeks, so I suppose I lucked out that this module isn't too hard on me. When it's finally finished and I can head back to school, my body won't be utterly destroyed. In fact, I think it might even be starting to heal. My hair is proof of that. I just hope everything goes as planned over the next four weeks. I Really hope my blood counts don't fall. That would probably be the biggest setback. So, for just a little while longer, keep thinking happy white blood cell thoughts. And otherwise, I'm off to do some grubbing around for food. Pax.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chemo drugs work surprisingly quickly.

It has been just over two days since I received my chemo onslaught, and my taste buds have gone totally goofy on me. Plain tap water is awful, although I have no trouble with sparkling water, which is strange. I had some cereal for dinner, and I just felt like I was forcing myself to eat. It's always a sad time when I can no longer enjoy food. But, like they have every month for the past eight months, my taste buds will return, and food will be delicious again. Until then, I guess I'll subsist on bagels and toast and sparkling water. The really funny thing is that even though I haven't been eating that much, I've been trying to drink so much liquid that I'm pretty sure I've put on maybe five pounds in the past three days. It's all water weight, and it's all centered around my belly, but I still think it's amusing.

The other thing worth noting, although not directly related to this week, is that I guess I have wrecked one of the small veins in the top of my hand. I'm not sure how it happened, or if it's fixable (I need to talk to my doctor about that), but I guess I had a negative reaction to when one of the nurses put an IV in that vein. The vein hardened up, and it's actually quite painful if you poke it, which, of course, I do. So, I'm hoping it will eventually start working again. I don't even know, since it's hard, if blood can flow through it. It hasn't impaired my hand functioning at all, so I guess it's not a big deal. But I just thought I'd throw that out there: sometimes needles do bad things to veins. Also, there will be no more IVs in the top of my hand, if I can help it. That's about it. More blood draws tomorrow at clinic, and hopefully I'll have some good news regarding my chemo levels tomorrow evening. Right now, I'm just staying hydrated and playing the waiting game. Right on. Peace.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eating toast.

I like toast. Especially when there is peanut butter involved. I can't type too much or too well because there is an IV sticking out of the side of my left hand. It's in a vein at right about at the flexion point of my wrist near my thumb. Basically I can't move my left hand that much in any direction. But all told, today went quite well. The IV the nurse put in is working well, and it will be coming out tomorrow. The spinal tap/lumbar puncture was virtually painless; it took about ten minutes total. I've been feeling a bit woozy since All of the chemo was stuffed into me, but I think that's finally wearing off, and I haven't had any trouble keeping down food. The most interesting detail of the day is that my urine was fluorescent yellow. The chemo was bright yellow, and, well, you know, it passes through you. So for a while there, my urine, pee, "bathroom fluids," what have you, were practically glowing. But that is all finally getting diluted. The other interesting thing is that I have been going to the bathroom All the Time. Like, no, really. I have consumed or been injected with so many fluids today. Between the water I've been drinking (a lot.), the 1000 mL of chemo, the 2000 mL worth of hydration packs, the milk I've had with my cereal, and even more water, I actually slosh when I move. But that's good. It means my kidneys are processing the fluids and getting them out of me, which is what we want. Plus, I have to get up in three hours again anyway to take 27, no, 29 pills. Woo! (It's not as ridiculous as it sounds. They are tiny pills.) So that will be my night, and I don't have to go to clinic until 4 pm tomorrow. And I am finished with the chemo for two weeks. So, hoorah. That's what's good here. Happy Tuesday, sad toad. Peace. if you feel like saying hi. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Still plugging along.

To be quite frank, I am not looking forward to tomorrow. It will be at least six hours of clinic time that will include at least two needles to two separate veins, a needle to the spine, two chemo drugs, one of which infuses for three hours, multiple anti-nausea pills, and my usual cocktail of daily pills plus a few new ones. And then there's the extreme likelihood of nausea anyway, not to mention the possibility of morphine-quality back pain. All in all, tomorrow is shaping up to be quite an eventful day. I might update tomorrow; I might not. That remains to be seen.

The funny (awful? funny?) thing about this is that even a few months ago, back in March, I thought I would be finished with my chemotherapy by now. And here I am, about to start the last module, which will last six more weeks. But at least it is finally beginning. I hope this goes by quickly. I need to get back to some sort of a normal life where photography figures prominently and my friends are nearby. That'd be nice. I guess the first step is getting through tomorrow. And....... Go!