Thursday, May 3, 2007

Oh, no! Here she comes.










Consider yourself warned.

In an effort to make sense of my blood results, corresponding energy/mood levels, relationship to Course A or B, response to Neulasta injections or transfusions, I've created an Excel spreadsheet.

It's a beautiful thing. I've used baby blue to highlight the counts that are within 10% below the low normal range. Counts that dip below the 10% mark are highlighted in warning yellow. The nadir, or lowest point, in blood counts, is indicated in red letters.

I just learned how to add comments (click on a date, and up pop the comments) so that I can correlate my energy level, moods and other symptoms (e.g. bloody nose) with blood counts. I've also added my own indicator, the "2FHR," my heart rate after ascending two flights of stairs.

At a glance, I can compare and contrast Course A and Course B. I immediately see that Course B is bathed in yellow, the warning color, while Course A basks in a less extreme baby blue. I learn that I reached my nadir for both courses on Day 13, and it's all uphill from there. From my anecdotal comments, it's clear that mood is a much more reliable indicator of my energy level than blood counts. (Another reason to PACE myself, in spite of how I feel.)

I can also use this data to plan my social calendar and schedule manicures. I can't take the risk of cutting cuticles with low white blood cells (risk of infection) or low platelets (risk of bleeding).

On the other hand, could a sudden dip in lunch dates and social engagements be in direct correlation to my desire to blather on about my spreadsheet?

I find all of this endlessly fascinating, but not everyone shares my zest. If you see me approaching with an Excel spreadsheet or a laptop computer, you may want to change directions. But, hey, if you really want to make me happy, just ask, "May I see your spreadsheet?"

11 comments:

SAMO Calling said...

Have your psych evals started yet?
(hee hee)

Diane Fisher said...

Ah. Now we know. You are only part writer. The other part is engineer.

Rebecca said...

That made me laugh out loud. You speak to the closet techie in all of us. Keep on trackin'!

suzy keleher said...

May I see your spreadsheet? Really! That IS fascinating! And I truly think your doctor would find it even more fascinating...an innovative way to keep a log! Almost reminds me of the show "Numbers"where the guy figures otu what is going to happen using innnovative math equasions etc. Please send me an attachment! LOL Love you! Suze

Karen said...

I had the same reactions as Suzy: I wanted to see the spreadsheets, and I thought your doctor would be fascinated by them.

My skill with spreadsheets is restricted to making beds, and even then the sheets don't look so hot. How were able to figure out how to make a spreadsheet? I continue to be more and more impressed by you, every day! Robert's stories about you as a kid fit right in with you as an adult!

Susan Carrier said...

My non-fiction writer friends can appreciate that writers do a lot more than put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). We ponder, we analyze, we try to make sense of what we observe.

Sometimes a spreadsheet is the perfect tool for making sense out of data that's not making sense, especially if you're a visual person.

I always used spreadsheets when analyzing the effectiveness of a sales or marketing campaign for a client. And I always had great "Aha" moments when comparing different marketing methods or sales approaches.

Now I'm having all kinds of fun "Aha" moments with my bloodwork spreadsheet.

For anyone who's never created an Excel spreadsheet, it's easy as pie. The key is figuring out what you want to SEE from the data on the spreadsheet and organizing it in a logical fashion.

And, bless you, Suzy and Karen for being interested in seeing my spreadhseet!

denise said...

Very interesting - you've created your own study of one - the most important one. I would be curious to see it. My dad has done the same thing, but on a handwritten spread sheet. And I always thought it was George who was more like my dad ;)

Piper Robert said...

It's in your DNA. I'm very visual also, and if a chart, graph, max/min is available, I'm all over it. Is there any correlation between yoga time-vs-analytical time? If you were to graph yoga vs analytical (y-v-A), what would the outcome be? Is y-v-A always equal? I bet with y-v-A, the outcome would be 5y = A, maybe even 10y = A.

Wait just a cotton pickin' minute, I see what's going on here. You seem to be on an analytical high, maybe a multi task buzz. You've taken everyone's advice and slowed down physically, now your intellect is on overdrive. Are we gonna have to put limits on you? Have fun, but go easy. Sheeesh, you'd think I was your big brother or something.

p.s. Email me your data, I'd love to check it out. : )

Paula Johnson said...

I'm with you, Linda Sue! I do love the purity and simplicity of a spreadsheet for laying out facts and figures. I am a sucker for color coding as well.

Once you get into the bar graphs and other infographics, you won't have time for your pals. Yikes!

Off topic: I'm still thinking about my fish sandwich and your spaghetti squash. Mostly because I don't feel like cooking tonight.

Susan Carrier said...

The nice thing about Excel is that you're just one click away from turning your spreadsheet into a line graph, a bar graph or a pie chart, but the simple spreadsheet works for me.

Lilli said...

I would love to see your spreadsheet! I love seeing data trends. I started to say, geek that I am, but then that would mean you are a geek too. Well, even if we are, we should own it!

I've found over the years that those who are run their lives by the seat of their pants often look to me to help them bring order. Hmmm.

So Excel away, I say. Anything that makes your life work.