Coming out the Other Side
Oddly enough, the title of this section isn’t a reference to any sort of bodily function. It’s just a state of where I’m at. I’m on Day +12 now and have made it through what should have been the worst of it. I last wrote a week ago, which seems impossible to me. Not because time has been flying by as I’ve had so much fun, but just because I’ve been concentrating on the daily accomplishments so it’s hard to believe 7 days have gone by.
Dry Mouth and Mouth Sores
The biggest improvements have come on the side effect front. As expected the mouth sores were the worst. Along with that came dry mouth. Not “my mouth is dry” but instead “my mouth feels like the desert and sand is being moved around inside of it.” I was breathing through my mouth a lot because my nose was plugged up. The cells inside my mouth were dying off because of the chemo and radiation. Plus I couldn’t produce new cells as my new stem cells were still en-grafting. That led to a few days of me trying to suction dead skin cells out of my mouth while wetting it with ice and an occasional popsicle. Not fun at all.
I’m not sure I technically got up to grade 4 mouth sores. There are 4 grades, as told to my by my Nurse Practitioner. Grade 1 is redness in the back of the mouth. Kinda like a normal sore throat. Grade 2 is the beginning of the mouth sores being visible. Grade 3 is an increase in the amount of sores and the possibility that some have opened. Grade 4 means the sore have opened and you are taking heavy doses of IV medication to keep the pain under control. I definitely took IV meds, but didn’t really have that many open sores. In the most severe form of Grade 4, the sores bleed into your airway and you have to be put on a ventilator. Thankfully it didn’t come to that.
How to Stop a Bloody Nose
I’ve had my share of bloody noses in my lifetime and most end with some kleenex wadded in a nostril. Not this time around. There was a brief period of time where Zach (Lindsey’s brother and the 2nd funniest person in the family) thought I had a resemblance to Hannibal Lector. I had a nose bleed that just wouldn’t stop and when you have one of those they send the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doc after you. The ENT doc being a specialist in the nose really knows what the full limits of that body part is. Thus my eyes got rather wide and my schpincter tightened a bit when he pulled a piece of guaze the side of Rhode Island and calmly said “I’ll put this in your nose and that will stop the bleeding.” No joke, because he was litterally usuing a piece of metal to shove every last bit in. To his credit, that nostril never bled again, but dang I don’t want to do that again.
And the Powerball Numbers Are:
You’ll see a jump in my platelets. This is because they were maintaining me at at least 10 platelets. However with the nose bleed they began maintaining me at 50 and now at 30 (aka, I’ve received A LOT of platelets lately). This is the hard part because we are simply waiting for my white count to come up. No telling when it will. No way to monitor if it is other than daily lab draws. So when they write the numbers on the board in the monrning, it’s kinda exciting. You know, like when the ping pong balls would pop up for the Powerball drawing.
10/22/15 (Day +6): WBC 0.2, Hemoglobin 10, Platelets 15
10/23/15 (Day +7): WBC <0.2, Hemoglobin 9.6, Platelets 8
10/24/15 (Day +8): WBC 0.2, Hemoglobin 9.1, Platelets 42
10/25/15 (Day +9): WBC 0.2, Hemoglobin 8.8, Platelets 59
10/26/15 (Day +10): WBC 0.3, Hemoglobin 7.8, Platelets 29
10/27/15 (Day +11): WBC 0.4, Hemoglobin 8.1, Platelets 35
10/28/15 (Day +12): WBC 0.4, Hemoglobin 7.8, Platelets 23
A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Tonight God I press on. Not because I have aleady taken hold of it. But I press on for what you have called me to be. Forgetting what is behind me and reaching for what is ahead. I press on. Thank you God for being by my side as we press on together. Thank you for another day.