Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Neurology and Blood Test Results

Neurology appointment went well this morning. He told me I had no sign of stroke or lesions or tumors in my brain (and yes, I do have a brain). I showed him an article about mental confusion and that it may possibly be as a result of a hormone-like reaction to CLL cells or an immune reaction by normal lymphocyte cells to the persistence of the CLL cells. He read it but told me he really did not know that much about lymphoma or leukemia. He indicated he thought the memory problems were just because of the stress overload from this disease. I truly don't feel that stressed, but who knows.

He then did the nerve test. Now that was interesting! The first part was hooking me up to electrodes at my feet and my leg and sending shocks up and down my leg and foot. Kept moving the electrodes around too. He told me to try to keep my leg as still as possible when the shocks came. Right! It really didn't hurt, just annoying. Some areas felt stronger and made me really jerk my leg or foot and others I was able not to move at all. He said he was checking for neuropathy damage from the diabetes and everything looked good.

The next test was much more uncomfortable at times. It consisted of sticking a needle into me at various places from feet all the way up to the top of my thigh. He would stick the needle in and then I was to flex the muscle that the needle went into. Lift toes, rotate foot, push down on knee, lift leg, etc. The one that hurt the most was in my calf. That was hurting before I even tightened the muscle. The needle was attached to a machine and I could hear a change in the sound whenever I flexed the involved muscle. I tried counting how many times I was stuck in both legs, but I lost track. I was in a cold sweat during this test and that was embarrassing because my feet and legs were sweating. When it was over and I got up, the back of my shirt was soaked.

Bottom line, he is pretty sure the pain in my legs comes from my lower back and the position I am sitting in or standing. The MRI showed several bulging discs, arthritis in the spine, but no specific pinched nerves. That doesn't rule out them being pinched some when I am sitting. He said the numbness on the top of my legs is definitely from pinched nerves at the top front of my legs. Problem is, what is pinching them? Sometimes people who wear jeans that are too tight have this problem when sitting. My legs are so skinny, my jeans are real loose. He said it is a real possibility that swollen lymph nodes are pinching the nerves. He said the true test of this will be if after chemo the lymph node swelling goes down and the numbness problem goes away.

I also got my blood test today and they gave me a copy. I won't be discussing it with Dr. Netaji until next Monday. However, it really wasn't what I was hoping for as most everything continued to go south. The odd thing is the red blood cells increased again, just like last time. In fact, they are really getting close to the lower edge of normal. That does explain why my fatigue is not as strong as it had been. Platelets dropped another 10K since about three weeks ago. Now down to 90. For those who understand I will post the numbers that are outside of normal First number will be this test, second number from three weeks ago and last numbers the normal range. Sorry about the spacing, but I can't figure out how to make tab spacing show up and regular spaces don't work either, so I am separating the numbers with //

WBC 37.1 // 32.8 // (4.0 - 11.0)
NEU# 2.2 // 2.2 // (3.0-7.0)
NEU% 5.9 // 6.6 // (40 - 74%)
LYM# 33.3 // 29.4 // (1.0 - 4.0)
LYM% 89.8 // 89.6 // (19.0-48.0%)
MONO# 0.9 // 0.6 // (0.1 - 0.6)
MONO% 2.4 // 1.7 // (3.0 - 11.0%)
BASO# 0.6 // 0.6 // (0.0 - 0.1)
RBC 4.42 // 4.33 // (4.70 - 6.10)
PLTS 90 // 100 // (130 - 400)

Dr. Netaji bases a lot of his decision to treat on the Lymphocyte # doubling time of six month or less and platelets being below 100. Lymphocyte # from his lab last June was 14.8 So, bottom line, I will more than likely begin chemo. I won't know for sure until next Monday. Of course I will post then and let you know.

By the way, I am now considering a third option. Combining Chlorambucil with Rituxan. Also this is a combination of pill and infusion. This is not a normal combination, but someone on ACOR as had great success with this combination. Apparently, if I am correct, he came up with this himself with input from Dr. Hamlin. But don't quote me on that one.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your prayers.


Paula and Earl Dunn said...

John: You are bound to have some stress, and you certainly have an overload of information. You are doing so much research and getting so much input into you brain. Sensory overload is one of the primary causes of forgetfulness. God bless. Paula and Earl

Bill said...

Jack...will be curious to see if you will try some yoga with me when I visit on the 19th. I bet it would help. I'll bring my dvd, you bring an open mind! love ya, Bill

DavidE said...

John - thanks for the updates and the comments you leave me. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers more than words can express. Note: be careful with some of the input at ACOR, I found a lot of information on Prosate Cancer; a lot of it was HIGHLY suspect.


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