ANOTHER BLEED

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I have leukemia. There are 7 different types of leukemia (M0-M6) and each type has their own characteristics. Some types are more favorable to have than other types. I happen to have a combination of 2 different types. I am a M2/M3. Particularly, in M3 type leukemia, patients can be prone to bleeds in the brain. I have mentioned in the past, that I have had bleeds in my brain (4 to be exact) and my last one was in the middle of December when I was admitted through the ER with a platelet count of 3. (Normal range of platelets is 15-0-300.) I tend to get bleeds when my platelet count is low. This is why my doctors keep me in the hospital after my chemo to watch my blood counts. They don’t want my platelets to get too low, so therefore, I do not bleed. Makes perfect sense!

Well, I have finished up chemo as of last Saturday and it really all went according to plan. Except for 4 evenings ago. My platelets were at 75 for that day – not extremely low, but the doctors did transfuse me with a unit of platelets. I was battling a viral/sinus infection so I had a sinus headache, stuffy and runny nose, congestion, coughing…you know all that typical head cold stuff that my kids and husband and everyone else in the hospital has too. Well, that evening, my headache just seemed to be getting worse and it wasn’t going away. My doctors ordered the obligatory CT scan just to be on the safe side. Low and behold, I had another bleed in my head, it wasn’t just a sinus headache. This bleed was only 8 mm long (in comparison to 10 cm bleeds that I have had in the past.)

I have felt like crap (that’s a very official medical term) for the past few days. I’ve been battling headaches, nausea and fevers along with still recovering from this cold. But I am on the mend! I was upgraded to the ICU (so I got to enjoy a transfer to another room here at Camp Summerlin.) Maybe my goal is to stay in every room in this darn hospital! Ha. The upgrade was necessary just so they could keep a closer eye on me and if the bleed worsened, they would be ready to handle it.

As of today though, they have repeated the CT scan, along with administering other tests (at CT Angiogram and an EEG – both are tests that test for brain funciton and see how the brain is working.) These tests have all come out with good results and I have no further damage. The bleed has not gotten any bigger. So that is GREAT news! It just makes me weary that I am pushing my luck with these bleeds. I obvioulsy would rather not have anymore. So, with 5 bleeds in total right now since the time I have been diagnosed, I do not show any major neurological side effects or damage from them. Everyone go knock on some wood for me that I don’t get any more and that it stays that way.

I’ll close with this (and seems to be my ongoing message)….Be happy and thankful for what you have. You never know when it can all change and it can all be taken away. These bleeds are eye-openers for me.

I also want to give a big thank you to all of you that read the blog and follow along. It means the world to me.

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SIMPLY AN UPDATE

You know you’ve been in the hospital for an extended period of time when Ellen is the highlight of your day.  I may not agree with all of her political beliefs but she cracks me up.

Once again, first time in a few days that I have felt like grabbing this computer. Its one side effect after another – which is all to be expected. First I had stomach issues. That has been resolved. Of course I had to get an ultrasound and CT scan just for the tests to not really show anything. Then yesterday I was receiving a unit of platelets (a daily occurance for me) and as soon the transfusion was over, I got incredibly cold and I was shaking violently. My teeth were chattering and I even bit my tongue. This syndrome is called “rigors”.  It occurs if you happen to have some type of reaction to the transfusion. The platelets I was receiving were A- platelets (we call that type-specific because that is my blood type.) Rigors can just happen for some reason. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and demerol is a medication that stops the shaking. As soon as they put the medicine in my port, I stopped shaking immediately. It was a very weird experience.

As you know, I’ve mentioned more than once being able to go home for a week after my numbers were high enough. Well, that isn’t happening any time soon. Don’t worry! I’m okay with that! I won’t go into the specific details of it all because it gets quite confusing and boring. But the bottom line is, my doctor feels its best that she hits me with another round of chemo. This chemo will be a bit different cocktail of medications than my first round. (There are many dfferent types of chemo.) My oncologist, Dr. Wareman is up-to-date on the most cutting edge leukemia treatment so I trust her completely in her decisions.

So, the moral of the story is, when you have leukemia (or any type of cancer for that matter) you can’t always predict what its going to do. You just have to go with the flow. Its like having a baby – they don’t always come out when you want them to.