Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Yellow Mask

Today I said goodbye to the thick, tight blue mask for patients with the lowest white blood cell (WBC) counts. I may now leave the room with a soft, loose yellow mask, the accessory of choice for patients who have broken the 700 (.7) mark.

That's right - I'm finally responding to Neupogen, the WBC booster I've received for six days in a row. I was discouraged on Thanksgiving morning when I discovered that my count had plummeted to .3. Then I remembered that WBCs are a lot like a bad drunk - they have to hit bottom before they can pull themselves up. After falling to their nadir, my WBCs have now risen to an impressive 1.3.

My red cells and hemoglobin are also holding their own. I received a transfusion on Thanksgiving Day, and instead of a one day boost followed by a fall, the reds have continued to slowly multiply.

The platelets are a different story. I had a transfusion on Friday, but it looks like I'll need another one tomorrow.

What is it with me and little plates? You may recall that my platelets had the most difficulty recovering after previous chemo sessions, taking four to five weeks instead of the requisite two.

At least while my platelets are recovering, the yellow mask will allow my world to expand slightly. I'll be able to participate in the hematology patient exercise class and will be allowed to attend the repeat performance at the Comedy Center on Wednesday.

Day 10
11-25-07 Counts:

(Numbers in parentheses are normal ranges.)

WBC 1.3 (4.0-11)
RBC 3.06 (3.8-5.2)
HGB 10.2 (11.5-15.5)
PLT 23 (150-350)

CALL FOR ASSISTANCE: Does anyone know if it's possible to attach a spreadsheet to a blog post?


Margaret Finnegan said...

Glad you're making progress. You need platelets? I gave to a girl in my kids' choir not long ago, and I have to say it was the most relaxing morning I've had in months. You sit in a cushy chair. They put warm blankets on you, and at UCLA you can choose from 1500 DVD! I finally saw "Knocked Up." You can also play computer games, check your email. It's all quite snazzy. Best of all, when you get home no one can give you any grief...because you've been saving lives! It's like an instant get out of anything card. Sorry, I'd love to help clean those dishes...but I gave platelets today -- the gift of life, you know -- and can't overdo. You let me know if I can help.

Mrs. Duck said...
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Mrs. Duck said...

Too bad it's not a mask like "The Mask". I take it it's a mask that goes over your nose and mouth, so you don't inhale microbes? Are they color coded so they can easily spot renegades in the hallways?

How come Margaret got warm blankets when giving platelets, but you had to freeze when you received your stem cells? COH should talk to UCLA about procedures. Plus, it would be nice to be able to watch a movie while being transfused, no?

Margaret, was Knocked Up good? I haven't seen it either. I had it on my Netflix list, then became worried (after 2 bad choices) that I was making another mistake (my family teases me no end about my my terrible movie rental choices).

I have no idea how to attach anything to a blog post. I only just recently learned how to create a spreadsheet. You're miles ahead of me, Susan!

Margaret Finnegan said...

I liked "Knocked Up." Yes it is crude and has many, many drug references. It is not Noel Coward. That being said, if you're looking for the kind of gutter comedy that apparently goes over well with teenage boys, go for it!

Susan Carrier said...

Sounds like they really have it together at UCLA.

I found out from the nurses that the fourth and sixth floors have the blanket warmers because patients donated them.

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