Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Details, details....

So as I meet more people related to the harvesting and read more 'stuff' (ok, only one stuff but I was able to upload it to mine and Mom's Kindle to make for easy reading!); I find that, like any good politician, what I wrote earlier may not be totally correct....

Yes, you guessed it - I did try it but I DID NOT INHALE!

Ok, now that I've gotten that small tidbit out of the way :) I will add modifications, alterations and other finely tuned pieces of material to make sure you all are aware of the intimate details of the process I will be going through. First, for any of you that have ever gone in for a blood test, you may have had the shot in the arm and filled up a tube or two. On my best day I had to fill four. Today, I arrived for treatment and had one tube taken for CBC (blood profile, RBC, Hemo, Hemato, WBC, Platelets, etc.) I was warned that when I return that afternoon they had more for me - and they were NOT joking! I swear, I thought this was the nephew from Caddyshack ordering at the halfway house, "i'll have a hamburger, and a hotdog, and a coca-cola..." This lady just kept pulling out tubes - honest!
Luckily, I, "...have good veins." It didn't prevent me from counting out random numbers while she tried to count the total number of vials in comparison of the total number of labels she had printed. I swear, I almost got kicked out, "7, 3, 12, 26, BINGO!" Apparently they need all these vials to test the overall counts (iga, lambda, etc) in addition to testing the t-cell counts (I believe those are the orange tubes).

Now these are the 'modifications' I've learned thus far (and I reserve the right for future modifications as my level of knowledge (for those of you familiar with the 12 sided die, my skill and resource level) increases).
- it's not a portacath - disregard my wikipedia reference (though that was kind of cool) DO NOT LOOK AT THIS IF YOU'RE FAINT OF HEART - first, it's not me, but it is a real picture! That's going to be messy! (photo credit is due to Thompson Cancer Center and Google search)
- the neupogen injections happen from Wednesday through Sunday - every morning I have to got there to get my shot, including the weekend. Now, if I was daring, I could do these shots myself; simply find a piece of fatty part of your body (ok, so that's not tough right now after the holidays), pinch it between two fingers and place the needle within the fatty part and 'shoot'! Isn't that simple.... Sir, ahhh, sir, are you awake? Someone call a nurse (oh sh!t - I'm home, no nurse!)
- The Cytoxan (given 1/29) takes a week to kick in, which means 8 days later I'll be at a very low WBC count. The White Blood Cells are your immune system - low blood count means boy in the bubble - can you drink Guinness through a bubble? This means we ship the kids off to the Aunt's house for the weekend (don't you love portable germ factories) without all the fun of going out and not having to wake up for the kids the next day. And I may lose my hair - Bruno (the barber), here I come - take it down to the tarmac and smooth it over.... That is a last resort - I don't think I'll make a very good Mr. Clean. But if it goes there, there will be a reflective photo collage - how many things can I reflect off my chrome dome? I'm going for some serious Dali-esque shots!
- The harvesting is pretty much the same as I described earlier. Bring a good book, load up some movies on my iPhone and potentially see if I can get my brother's big screen tv glasses to work! 6 hours in a room, with those tubes, blood coming in and out. I will do my best to describe ALLL the sensations - just like being there. Perhaps I can get James Cameron to do a 3D movie with smellovision (or do you think Dolby THX will be enough?)

The rest of my tests today were fun - I had a sonogram of my heart (it's there and it works and I don't have a baby). I have a new respect for expecting mothers - that stuff is COLD! Next was my breathing tests - including a little glass room which I guess isolates the pressure for when you breathe through the tube - apparently I did well (read as I have a lot of hot air, witnessed by this drivel) Then the radiology department was closed (the light burnt out in the xray machine - reschedule that appt. The vmail was as follows, "Regarding your appointment today, the x-ray machine is broken so please DO NOT SHOW UP FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY." I don't think she looked at my schedule to see I had seven other appointments that day.) I met with the nutritionist - at the point of harvesting and on day 8 after the Cytoxan, I have to maintain a Neutropenic diet - in other words, food that can have any sort of live bacteria is a no-no. Cheese Whiz is good, Spam is good, burnt steak is good and yes, Mom can make chicken noodle soup but it must be eaten w/in 72 hours of being prepared. Essentially, anything in a can is OK - actually, I'm embelleshing a bit, I can do more but cheeses are bad, fresh fruit must be washed well or peeled - just be cautious! I also met the psychotherapist! She asked if anyone in my family had any history of mental illness or had any psychiatric treatment - my response, "not that my mother's ever admitted to...." Was that the wrong thing to say? "How does this process make you feel?" 'Aside from the bed wetting, I'm pretty much getting used to the idea.' All joking aside, we connected and she has a cousin in Hongkers that I'm going to try and see if anyone knows. I'm all clear on the shrink-front!

So that's it for now. A special thanks to Danny for sending me his message in a bottle, though his response to my last post would have been good fodder for the blog. Something about reading my blog while he was at DFCI getting ready for a radiology treatment. When I mentioned "not RVD but just VD" he apparently laughed out loud and the crowd in the waiting room thought he had laced his Barium! (didn't I mention Danny would laugh at that!?!)

As they say in Bangkok - night, night Mama San!

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