Friday, September 14, 2007

Wow, it's been a long week.

I last updated my life's adventures on Monday, I believe. Well, now it is Friday, and a whole lot has happened in the days between. Tuesday wasn't that exciting. I worked; I didn't have class; I probably napped. Wednesday, however, was the day of my first appointment at Dana-Farber. I found my way to Dana-Farber with time to spare. (I took a train, but you can also bus it, or take a different train, or you can walk. I walked home.) So first off, I walked up to the New Patient side of the reception desk. The nurse asked me if I was a patient new to Dana-Farber; I replied affirmatively. She then asked my name, which I gave as "Caroline Bridges." To which she replied, "Oh, Caroline! You've finally made it. Well, it's good to meet you." I am pretty sure my shock was fairly visible, but I took the papers she handed me and headed over to Phlebotomy to have my blood drawn. (haha, phlebotomy.)

In brief, blood was drawn, time passed, and I was eventually led to one of the examining rooms in the back where I would meet my new doctor. Blah blah blah, I meet my doctor, he's really nice, very intelligent. He asks me some general background health questions -- no I don't smoke; no I don't drink (although I want to); yes I do drugs, oh wait, you mean like hardcore drugs; no I don't do those. All in all, I am in good general health. Oh but wait, there's one small snag. My white blood cell count is extremely low. Still?? Yes. Still. But this time, my red blood cell count has fallen, as well as my platelet count. Basically, all blood cell-related counts have dropped (plummeted?) since the last time I had labs drawn, Two Weeks Ago. At this point my doctor went to go perform a spinal tap and then call my doctor at U of C to see what she had to say about my counts. He left me sitting in the examining room, wondering why in the holy hell had my counts not come up in the four weeks since I last received chemotherapy. Again, in brief, he eventually came back and said that they would redraw my labs, but I was to come in the next day for a blood transfusion and a bone-marrow biopsy.

Enter Thursday. Well, before we enter Thursday, let me just say that Wednesday evening was one of the more stressful evenings I've ever muddled through. Pretty much the whole time I was thinking to myself, "It can't have come back. There's absolutely no way it could have come back!" After which I would either cry or punch my pillow. Because, although unlikely, it could have come back. Okay, so Thursday. I went in for my blood transfusion, which went very well. And then it was time for the biopsy/aspirate. As usual, it always sounds worse than it really is. This biopsy was definitely one of the fastest I've gone through, and it wasn't really that painful. Okay, so I go home. I nap. A few hours later, I get a phone call from my doctor. Turns out, the preliminary lab results showed Absolutely No Sign of Any leukemia cells Anywhere in my marrow. Hooray! He told me that my body must just be extremely sensitive to the chemo I had gotten, as well as these pills I was taking that are low-grade chemo. So he took me off the pills, and we're hoping that perhaps things will start to grow within the next week. I go back next Wednesday to find out.

And now it's Friday. I think I understand why doctors recommend not going to school while still undergoing chemotherapy. I couldn't concentrate on anything the past two days, I was so worried about what was wrong with me. It was a reality check that I am still not out of danger yet with this chemo business. I am still neutropenic, and everyone is still worried about the many things that can go wrong. But I will be healthy eventually, and for now, I am just so grateful that I continue to not have cancer. Anyway, thanks for reading this if you read all this. Enjoy the weekend. Peace.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"your lack of internets is seriously cramping this blog's style."

For this I apologize. I hope some people are still reading this thing, because I am by no means finished writing it. I have just been dealing with a lack of "internets." Hopefully my apartment-mate and I should be getting wireless this week, after which I will be much more regular with my postings.

For now though, I will say what little I have to say from the computer lab at BU. I am waiting for my homework to print, and the wait is close to forty-five minutes, which means I have some time on my hands. My life has been awesome and busy and a total, happy mess these past few days, but not much of it has had to do with my having cancer. I am completely moved into my apartment, and yesterday I did my first bathroom/kitchen sweep and clean. I even fixed the toilet all by myself. Score one for the mechanically inept. I have returned to my job at the gym, working fourteen hours a week. And let me tell you, I love being back to work. I mostly don't remember where anything is in the gym, such as where the women's bathrooms are, but there are other people around for those things. It feels so great to be back around people, especially people my own age. I swear, I've been so deprived, every time a guy walks by I think, "You're cute. We should get coffee." Even if he's not cute and I've stopped drinking coffee. It's really the principle of the thing. Speaking of principles, my classes are pretty good. I haven't found it at all difficult to transition back into learning-mode. I suppose it helps that I only have ten hours of class a week and no papers, just reading and photography. My kind of assignments. But basically, that's what I've been doing: the same mundane things most other kids my age are mucking through.

But as we all know, I am still getting chemotherapy for acute lymphocytic leukemia. I haven't had chemo in a few weeks now, but that may all change come this Wednesday. My appointment at Dana-Farber was finally scheduled and confirmed for this Wednesday. I was under the impression that this was just to meet my new doctor and get labs drawn, but per an e-mail from my Chicago doctor, it looks like there's a possibility that I will be admitted on Wednesday. I mentioned before that Dana-Farber isn't following the protocol that I am on yet, but they said there would be no problem in treating me. I guess they still need to iron out a few of the details, such as my doing the treatment outpatient and beginning it on a Monday or Tuesday. I am sure it will work out for the best, although, honestly, I am willing to take whatever if it means I will finally be receiving treatment. Otherwise, that's about it for now. My paper still hasn't printed, but I'm feeling optimistic. Have a good week, and don't give up on the b-log! I will be back. Peace.