Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Overdue

Sorry it has taken me so long to update. I have been busy lately and VERY tired so when I get on the computer it is usually just to check mail, check the blogs I keep up with to see if there are new posts, and check the new posts on the CLL Forum. By then it is late. Over the holiday weekend I didn't do much but sleep late, take long naps and sleep some more in the evening. We did go to church and then out to eat on Sunday, but that was about it. I have gotten a couple of emails wondering about an update, so here goes.

I have been in class the last two weeks. The first week was here in Austin and last week I flew out to El Paso and taught class all week. I was tired every night and last week I would come back to the hotel room and crash for awhile, get up and fix something to eat in my hotel room -- I had a suite with a full kitchen -- check mail and crash again. By Thursday I was even feeling very tired in class. Usually I feel energized while teaching but this time it was a struggle the last two days. I guess it was because it was so close to the last (hopefully) chemo round. This time I tapered off the steroids and finished off the Wednesday I was in class here in Austin. That worked much better this time and I didn't have the big crash, physically and emotionally, that I experienced the last couple of rounds. I got my blood work a week ago Monday just before flying out to El Paso. Overall it was very good, especially the lymphocytes and the white blood counts. Platelets are still low, but not in the real danger area. Other areas were just slightly off. I thought the red blood cells and hemoglobin were going to be really low, indicating anemia, because I was so fatigued, but the red cells are only a little low and the hemoglobin number is perfect. I will post most of the numbers at the end for those who understand them. As you will see, my inner mouse/hamster continues to do his/her work well. This is a strange disease. There are other patients with all normal counts experiencing severe fatigue and others, who are anemic, but aren't experiencing much fatigue at all. I just wish I felt as good as everyone tells me I look. I am hoping that in a couple of weeks I will begin to regain energy.

Thankfully I tolerated all six chemo rounds MUCH better than many do. I never experienced nausea and for the last two rounds didn't even take the nausea pills as a precaution. I gained weight again this round! Now it is time to get serious and start losing the weight I gained on chemo because all my new shirts and pants I bought after losing weight are getting very tight. Some I can't wear now. But it is a small price to pay for getting through the treatments so well.

I will see the doctor next Monday, just before flying back out to El Paso for another week. I am hoping he doesn't suggest more chemo this time because I really think the counts are mostly very good. If he does, then I will make an appointment at MD Anderson to go back and see Dr. Weirda for his suggestions/opinion.

I hope all of you who are reading this from the U.S. took some time yesterday, Memorial Day, to remember all the men and women who paid the ultimate price with their lives while in the service of their country. We owe them so much for the freedoms we have today. There are many young men and women who are still paying that price today. I pray for the families they have left behind. Today is the traditional Memorial Day before congress changed it in the early 70's. I don't think the change was good because now it is just another three day holiday weekend for many folks and they never give a thought to what it is supposed to be about. When I was a little kid, my folks always visited the cemeteries and put fresh flowers or flags on the graves of our relatives. We always walked around and found markers of those who died in war. It was a special day back then. Yesterday our flag, in front of our home, flew at half mast until noon, as prescribed by the proper flag etiquette for the day.

Here are the blood results and I hope I won't take as long to post the results of next Monday's meeting with my hematologist/oncologist.

First is the count followed by this labs normal range. Any outside of normal are posted in red:
WBC 4.3 (4.0-11.0)
NEU# 1.9 (3.0-7.0) infection fighters
NEU% 44.5 (40.0-74.0)
LYM# 1.6 (1.0-4.0) *absolute number
LYM % 37.8 (19.00-48.00)
MONO# 0.7 (0.1-0.6)
MONO% 15.1 (3.0-11.0)
EOS# 0.0 (0.1-0.4)
EOS% 1.1 (0.0-7.0)
BASO# 0.1 (0.0-0.1)
BASO% 1.5 (0.0-2.0)
RBC 4.38 (4.70-6.10)
HGB 15.00 (13.00-17.00)
HCT 41.20 (37.00-49.00)
MCV 94.0 (80.00-100.00)
MCH 34.3 (27.0-34.0)
MCHC 36.5 (32.0-36.0)
RDW 12.1 (11.0-15.0)
PLTS 99 (140-400)

Again, thank you for your expressed concern and your prayers. I truly believe it is because of you and God's grace I tolerated the chemo so well.

6 comments:

Karen said...

Woo! Way to go on the bloodwork! :)

DavidE said...

Thanks for the update John. I did get your message from El Paso but have not had a chance to get back to you.
I'll send a note from home over the next few evenings.

Steve said...

I can relate to that :)

Jenny Lou said...

John-
Hang in there--Your counts are inproving and the neuts will recover in the next 3-6 months. You are fatigued because of the chemo--let your body adjust. Good work--you know we love you.
Tom and Jenny Lou

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