Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Plog Defined

This morning I felt the full meaning of the "plog." As I lay stretched out on the bed, feeling sad, I was at once bogged, fogged, flogged and nogged. As energy leaked out of me, I saw myself spending the day drifting in and out of sleep and not caring much about what happened.

It's Such a Perfect Day (Lou Reed) sang out from my phone. It was Mariel calling from Boston telling me her latest travel plans and by the way did I pick up her dress from the cleaners. I had no choice but to get up and get moving.

The big event of the day was taking our dog Buck for an ophthalmology exam at the New York Veterinary Hospital. Buck was born with a problem in his left eye. His vision seemed to be deteriorating in that he was bumping into things more and more. It turns out he has detached retinas in both eyes which will be treated with 20 mg of prednisone per day. Sound familiar?

I was relieved. If they'd told me Buck was going blind, I would've crawled into bed when we got home. Instead, Marty made me an egg cream and I wrote this post.,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Billie Holiday Soothes the Soul

First I had blood drawn. Then I had my vitals taken. Then I saw my oncologist. We discussed The Plan. Basically, I'm not changing any meds. I'm having 12 radiation treatments, followed by the Vidaza regimen.

After the doctor, I went to the radiation suite, changed into my backwards robe sized for a 200-lb. person, and waited my turn. When they called me in and started setting me up on the table, Billie Holiday sang softly in the background. Since the position I have to get into is fairly uncomfortable, it was nice to hear a familiar voice.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Radiation and Vidaza

The war against leukemia will be fought with radiation and Vidaza shots. Minute measurements were made on my breast, along with four permanent tattoos. I'm scheduled for the first of 12 doses on August 27.

The injectible drug I'll get is called Vidaza, most commonly used for oddly shaped red blood cells. I'll ask my doctor for its link to leukemia protection. I'll have to go to the clinic for the shots because they have to be mixed. I was hoping Marty could do it, because he's mixed and injected me before.

I'm going to my 40th high school reunion Friday on Long Island. My skin is so ugly, I'm planning to wear long sleeves and pants. I certainly don't want to explain my health history to anyone. Graft versus host disease takes a long to to explain. Plus, I'd rather talk about my experiences, my children and my dogs.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bone Marrow Biopsy Negative

I thought my life was ending, again. The small mass on my nipple turned out to be leukemia cutis, which is an isolated pocket that manages to fool the anti-leukemia T-cells and find sanctuary at skin level. These extramadullary sites can appear anywhere in the body, so I had a PET scan to check for other hideaways. I also had my 18th bone marrow biopsy, which hurt like hell.

I got the news of the leukemia cutis in the recovery area after my cataract surgery. Dr. Giralt called me on my cell with the news. I was devastated. Thankfully, my friend Dianne was picking me up to take me home, so she helped make me feel a little better.

Ironically, the day I found out the leukemia was trying to get me again, was the anniversary of my 3rd transplant. I should have been celebrating with champagne. Instead, I took ativan.

The first appointment I had the next day was with my ophthalmologist to check out my eye. Then I met with my oncologist, Dr. Giralt, who did a biopsy, ordered the PET scan and explained the various options to me, depending on whether the leukemia was in the marrow or not. Fortunately Marty came with me. I was a bit overwhelmed.

I didn't want to broadcast this because I didn't want to upset anyone. Only a handful of people knew. I can write this post because when I met with the radiation oncologist this morning to find out about targeted therapy, Dr. Giralt called to say the marrow was clean.

After some measurements and what-not, I'll receive 12 zaps to the nipple, one each day. Doesn't sound so bad. Dr. Giralt also mentioned a series of shots I'll receive 5 shots in my thigh on, one a day for 5 days each month.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Cataract Surgery a Success

My appointment wasn't until 9 but i arrived early. Why do I do this? I wasn't wheeled into surgery until 11:30. The anesthesiologist, who has 36 years of experienced couldn't find a suitable area for an i.v. to deliver the conscious sedation. He poked, he prodded. He tried 4 spots until he hit gold, but not before trying my foot which sear. I was ready to call the rd with pain, so much so that I cried out and the nurse ran over to hold me hand."Do you think you can do this without sedation?," he asked. I did receive many lydocaine sticks in the eye area. I said I didn't think it would be a good idea.
He apologized of course, and the next hole worked.

Surgery proceeded but took a long time. Because I use the PROSE lens for moisture issues, they had to put a lot more sutures in. I felt every one of the babies. It was maybe a 6 on a scale of 10 and it went on for 30 minutes. No one seemed alarmed by my grunting and moaning, so I couldn't escape the pain. I shouldered through and after it was all over, my eye felt fine.

Dianne picked me up and we took a cab the short distance to my apartment. She walked Buck while I went into the bathroom to see the wreck of my face. I couldn't wear glasses because they didn't fit over the eye patch. I ate, I listened to some Olympic competitions. I went to bed early.

This morning they took the patch off and the vision it that eye is 20/50. I am typing this with no glasses on, my right eye doing 80% of the work. We still have to work out the whole PROSE deal, and I can't do yga for a week, but some progress has been made.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Surgery Consult

I set off for my appointment with the dermatology surgeon early, arriving 15 minutes before my appointment. I was brought in to a room at 4:40 and was quizzed for my medical history by a fellow named Meaghan. Then Indira came in to take photos of the site. I was so cold, I put on a hospital robe.

At 5:24, Meghan returned to say the doctor was doing a procedure and I'd have to wait 30 minutes more. What could I do? The punch biopsy area was starting to throb and my contacts needed to be irrigated but I had no materials. I made and received calls, including one from my daughter in Peru. Dr. Nahal came in at 6 and examined my leg. The area, my front ankle, is too tight to suture so I would have a draining wound to care for 3 months or so. That didn't sound so bad. The other option, which the doctor is investigating today, involves seeing another surgeon and having a skin graft at the time of removal. The graft would have to be cleansed and dressed for 3 to 5 months, until it "takes." That sounds worse to me but I'll see what Dr. Nahal has to say.

I got home at 6:30 and had a gin and tonic. Then I made dinner and forgot about my day of dermatology. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Punch Biopsy

It wasn't so bad. Very little blood, a few dissolving stitches, and a big white pad. The small whitish plug will be analyzed for abnormal cells. Results in 7-10 days. I can't sustain anxiety for that long so I'm going to try to banish it from my mind. My dermatologist didn't seem to know what it was, besides thickened tissue.

I just love a good medical mystery. When I read or hear one about someone else..