Wednesday, July 8th at 1:00pm
My appointment with Dr. Cripe is at 1pm. I’ll have my blood drawn and if there are no signs of leukemia in my peripheral blood, then we will move on to a bone marrow aspiration. Knowing you are going to have a bone marrow aspiration is kinda like blowing by a cop at 100mph. You know what’s going to happen. You know it’s going to suck. But you also know there isn’t anything you can do about it. You just have to pull over, smile, and take your ticket.
Bone Marrow Aspiration/Biopsy
A little over 2 years ago, I wrote about what a Bone Marrow Aspiration (BMA) is like. For those of you not inclined to hear about drilling into bone, I’ll just tell you it’s not fun and you can skip to the next section.
For those of you still reading, here’s how much fun a BMA is. For pediatric patients, they typically give sedation. For adult patients, it’s more of a grin and bear it process. They have you lay on your side, as the BMA will take place in your hip area. You are given lidocaine to numb the surface skin. You feel a little prick and a burning sensation. They then start to push the lidocaine needle in further to help numb the tissue all the way down to the bone. At this point they will ask “Do you feel any pain or just pressure?” Now, the astute BMA subject will always say they feel pain. That way they shoot you up with a bit more lidocaine. Just a little tip, free of charge.
After your soft tissue is numb, in goes the BMA needle. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the tip of a BMA needle. The needle goes through the soft tissue relatively easy and pain free (thank you lidocaine). However, when they get to the bone, things change a bit. Have you ever taken a phillips screwdriver and pushed down on it with all your weight to either put a screw in or get it out? That’s what this part of the procedure feels like. You feel an intense pressure on your bone as the doctor pushes down and twists the needle back and forth. Clockwise then counter clockwise. Essentially sawing into your bone.
Eventually, they get through your bone and into the marrow. This is where the fun really begins. There’s no numbing the marrow. You are told to stay still, which is kind of funny considering what will happen next. A countdown of 3…2…1, and then they snip some of your marrow. When this happens, you get a severe pain, kind of like a charlie horse from your hip down to your toes. It’s through this pain that they would prefer you stay still. The pain lasts maybe 5 seconds…and then they take another sample with the same pain for good measure.
Now that the procedure is done, they remove the needle and apply pressure to the incision. A rather large bandage is put on and then you lay on your back so that more pressure is applied. Eventually you have laid there long enough and you can get up. Then you wait. What will the BMA show? Are you in remission? Did the chemo work?
I’m not sure when I’ll have my results. The first time around, it took a couple of days to get results back. Last month, the preliminary results were pretty clear and we had those within a few hours. Obviously I’m praying for/hoping for/wanting remission. If I achieve a 2nd remission, then we move on to SCT. If I do not achieve a 2nd remission, then things get a bit more complicated. Not achieving a 2nd remission means the leukemia is most like resistant to the typical chemo. At that point, we could try a stronger chemo or we could move on to clinical trial treatments. Let’s just plan on a remission.
My Main Man
It’s a good thing Obergefell v. Hodges was decided recently, as I have a new man in my life. We haven’t met, but I don’t think that I can live without him. I know nothing about him, other than he is male and he’s going to give me some new stem cells. How do I know he is male? Well, the interesting thing is they try to match you with a man first. Sexist? Not really. Women can develop antibodies when they are pregnant and these antibodies can impact the SCT. Even if the woman is a 10/10 match, the antibodies can cause more severe GVHD. When someone has potential matches, they will request more information for the men first. Now, that is only if someone has male matches. It is quite possible that someone will only have a match with a female. So all you ladies that have signed up for the registry, don’t despair. You could very well help save someone’s life.
What Life is Like Right Now
Well, maybe not life in the broad sense. But more to the point, how am I doing right now? Not too bad. I have enough energy to run short errands. I drive myself to my lab draw and then might run by Home Depot or another store. I can get through the day without a nap if I want, but sometimes its also advisable to just rest. After chemo, I felt like I was revving my engine in neutral or sometimes getting in 1st gear. Now I feel like I’ve stepped up my game and I can get into 2nd gear. Granted the clutch grinds as I shift and there’s a definite shudder from the engine, but I can move around a little quicker than I used to. Not as fast as I want to or as fast as I used to, but when you’ve been stuck in neutral or 1st gear for a month, a shaky 2nd gear feels pretty good.
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father God, for all that will go on tomorrow, I feel rather calm. Why worry? What will worrying solve? Nothing. But I still think about tomorrow. I play through the scenarios in my head. What will my next steps be in each scenario that plays out. I don’t worry because this isn’t the end of the road. I have treatment options available and I have you to rely on. You are my rock and my foundation. I thank you for your promise. I thank you for your grace. I thank you for your salvation. I thank you for another day.