Monday, April 16, 2007

I know, I know, I am a Lousy Lymphomaniac!

Well, my good friend, Paula Dunn, asked, "Has your broken arm healed yet?" Ha! I wish I could say that is my excuse for not posting, but it's not. So why haven't I? I guess I was just sick of Leukemia for awhile. I dropped out of reading my ACOR list, my cllforum, my CLLCfriends forum (CLL Christian friends), and the various blogs I kept up with. I guess I just needed a mental holiday. I have been feeling somewhat this way since early last fall when we went on the cruise and I barely gave cancer a thought, but this has been a particularly strong feeling since the first of the year.

Having read numerous other blogs, I have noticed that a good percentage of the folks did the same thing at some point; obviously not all, but quite a few. I just recently celebrated my two year cancerversary and two years is a long time to have cancer constantly on your mind. I think I am out of that mood now. For the last week I have pretty much caught up on my forum reading, I am about to tackle the ACOR list and I started reading some of the blogs I used to check every day. It is strange because I never forgot about any of the folks and those fellow blogger and forum members remained in my prayers. I would pick up my laptop in the evening and think I would go do some reading, but then would end up just mindlessly playing solitaire before heading off to bed.

OK, I will get up off the psych couch and catch you up some on what has been happening in my world. The coughing from the pneumonia finally went away, but during that time my ears had become infected. They ended up with fluid and stopped up. The infection got cleared up, but the blockage in my left ear has remained since January. We tried several medications but nothing cleared it up. I finally got in to the ENT specialist today. I do have fluid (duh!), and hearing loss in my left ear. However, he really doesn't want to take any drastic measures yet as he is afraid of giving me an infection. He wants to wait a couple of more months at least. So, I am back to using the nose spray hoping to clear it up.

Since I last posted I have had two blood tests. The February tests looked pretty good and my neutrophils (infection fighters) were up in the normal range for the first time in a couple of years -- however, that was because I was still fighting infections, and that was good because it meant I was getting an immune response. The end of March's blood tests didn't look quite as good and everything but platelets got a little bit worse and the neutrophils dropped quite a bit. The good news was that platelets were all the way up to 129! The results of the CT Scan showed the lymph nodes are growing again -- some in the stomach are almost pre-chemo size -- and the neck ones are all back, but not up to the size they were before chemo. Again, my main complaint is being tired. I was only out of town training one week so far this year. It was a couple of weeks ago and the night after I got back, I slept 16 hours and the next night slept another 11 hours -- a great way to spend a weekend. So you can see why I am looking forward to retirement. I will miss training greatly, but it just wipes me out too much. Last week I asked my oncologist why, since the blood tests look relatively good, why am I getting so many infections and why am I so tired? He just looked at me and said, "Because you have leukemia!" Oh, OK, I forgot. He is going to check my IGG levels in case that is why I am getting multiple infections. However, he is getting more and more confident that it may be quite a long time before more chemo because my absolute lymphocyte count is holding really well.

Now, for my most exciting news. I saw my Endocrinologist this morning for my diabetes and have added yet another medication to my pharmacy. (I currently take 14 pills a day, plus the nose spray.) This one is cool, though. It is made from lizard spit!!! Well, she said saliva, but it really is spit. And not just any old lizard. No sir, it is the beloved Gila Monster. How many of you can say you inject yourself with Lizard Spit???? I always wanted to be unique.
Yep, now I am part lizard (when they were growing up, my kids already thought I was part monster when I was around their boy friends). And I inject it into my stomach twice a day, just before breakfast and just before dinner. Since I am already part mouse from the Rituxan infusions, and now that I am part lizard, I believe my inner lizard and inner mouse have genetically combined and I am now a -- louse! And that, boys and girls, is why I am a lousy lymphomaniac.

From information I found on the web: "The Gila monster is a rare lizard with deadly venom in its saliva. Researchers have used the saliva to develop a new drug called exenatide. It’s injected twice a day to help type 2 diabetics keep their blood sugar under control.
“We think that the effect of the drug has something to do with the fact that this animal eats two, maybe three or four times a year,” says diabetologist John Buse, M.D., Ph.D., of UNC Diabetes Care Center in Chapel Hill.
A hormone in the lizard’s saliva slows its metabolism between meals and keeps its blood sugar low when it does eat. It seems to have the same effect on patients with type 2 diabetes.
Since Gila monsters are at risk of becoming an endangered species, exenatide is now made synthetically and not from the lizard."

OK, so I am only synthetically part lizard, but hey, just be careful next time you invite me to dinner. Only serve me raw eggs, please:

On a very serious note, today was the horrendous shootings at Virginia Tech. The talking heads on TV are all trying to explain what happened. But how can anyone explain such senselessness? Please join me in praying for the wounded survivors; those who were in the buildings and witnessed the horror; the students, faculty and staff of Virginia Tech; and especially the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives.