And on the Third Day, I Wrote Again

I’ve been home from the hospital for three days now.  I figure it’s time for an update.

Going Home
Getting out of the hospital was pretty uneventful.  My chemo finished.  They flushed the line.  My port was de-accessed. And then I was free.  Lindsey and I just walked out of the unit.  A few more weeks and I’ll be back.
Side Effects
Thankfully, again, my side effects have been minimal.  The most persistent side effect is fatigue.  Especially at night, my body is just done.  I nap a few times during the day, and then feel a bit more energized.  I’ve also had very mild nausea.  I’ve taken phenergan which has helped.  Other times I just need to be sure that I’ve eaten something, as an empty stomach bothers me too.
Take Your Leucovorin
If you remember, I mentioned leucovorin a few posts back. It’s the garden hose drug that tries to save your valuables when the house is on fire.  I thought it was mostly related to my blood cells, but talking to my nurse at discharge it actually helps with other fast growing cells.  She told me a story about a gentleman who didn’t take his leucovorin when he left.  Since the leucovorin helps clear the meth from your body, his meth hung out for a bit too long.  He developed blisters in his mouth and was admitted to the hospital for a few weeks until he was able to eat and drink again.  Needless to say, with that parting speech in mind, I took my leucovorin at the prescribed times.
I’m Pregnant
I know this probably comes as a shock on top of everything else, but I’m pregnant.  I’ve been taking note of my symptoms.  I’m tired a lot.  I’m irritable.  I get nauseous.  I can’t eat lunch meat.  I’m constantly getting checked for my feet and ankles to swell.  I had to start taking a daily vitamin. I had an abdominal ultra sound. And my body is definitely changing.  Now I’m just waiting for the little guy or girl to start kicking.
 11:30, 12:45, 1:30, 3:00, 4:15, 5:00, 6:15
After going to bed around 10pm on Wednesday, the above are all the times I had to get up in the middle of the night to pee.  Constant fluids will do that to you, and now that I’m home and not on an IV it’s gotten a bit better.
Ah, the Weekend
I’m glad it’s the weekend.  Technically it’s not a day off from work, so I don’t think about all the things I should be doing.  It’s just Lindsey, the kids and I at home so we’re getting good family time.  In a non Leukemia world I may be cleaning the garage today or doing something outside, but I’m glad for a little relaxation and playtime.
Eye See You
I had my follow up with the optometrist on Thursday.  It wasn’t my normal optometrist, and I wasn’t really impressed.  After being called back around 3:15 for a 2:30 appointment, I sat in the exam room for a bit.  Once the optometrist came in, he didn’t introduce himself or anything, he simply said “You know what I’m going to do after this….take some advil.”  Well okay then.
While his exam chair manner was on par with the local drunk, he did provide a good exam.  I still have a pre-retinal hemorrhage in my right eye.  They even took a picture of it so I could see.  I have another follow up appointment in 2 months to see if it has gotten better.  Really it’s somewhat of a formality as I feel like I’m seeing ok.  I will however be sure to bring some advil for him, just in case.
Day 10-14
I made one minor miscalculation in my treatment plan.  At the beginning when they told me I’d be back in the hospital for 4 days a month for chemo, I just figured those would be the only 4 days I was out of action.  In reality, my counts drop just like they did before. They told me that my counts would probably bottom out around days 10-14, and that is when I’ll probably feel the worst.  Day 10 is this coming Thursday.  Here’s to feeling the best kind of bad I can feel.
Three Weeks vs Three Days
You may be wondering, as I did, why my initial hospitalization was 3 weeks and now I’m in and out for 3-4 days.  I asked Dr. Cripe this question.  Basically it comes down to the fact that when I was originally admitted, my bone marrow was full of leukemia cells and not health.  Now that my bone marrow is somewhat recovered, it’s starting from a better place to recover.  That means I can recover at home instead of in the hospital.
Colony Stimulating Factor
One of the other differences this time around is that I get a Neulasta shot on day 5 of treatment.  Neulasta is a colony stimulating factor. Colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) are secreted glycoproteins that bind to receptor proteins on the surfaces of hemopoietic stem cells, thereby activating intracellular signaling pathways that can cause the cells to proliferate and differentiate into a specific kind of blood cell (usually white blood cells.
In other words, Neulasta helps stimulate the production of white blood cells in my body.  With Neulasta, my counts will come up a bit more quickly and I can be out in the real world a little sooner.
February 18th, 2013
This will be the next big day in my journey.  Assuming there are no road bumps between now and then, I will next meet with Dr. Cripe on 2/18.  He will perform my bone marrow aspiration (here’s to hoping he’s gentle) and then I’ll know if I’m in remission.  If I’m in remission, then the treatment plan continues and I get admitted for more chemo.  Until then, here’s to a normal life.

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