Sunday, December 2, 2007

Natural High, Natural Low

Day 14, Thursday, November 29
(Numbers in parentheses are normal ranges)
WBC 10.4 (4.0-11)
RBC 2.88 (3.8-5.2)
HGB 9.7 (11.5-15.5)
PLT 11 (150-350) (65 after morning transfusion)

Day 16, Saturday, December 1
WBC 2.2 (4.0-11)
RBC 3.4 (3.8-5.2)
HGB 11.4 (11.5-15.5)
PLT 54 (150-350)

I got some great news on Saturday. I went in for a blood draw and found out that I didn't need a transfusion of either red blood or platelets.

My white blood cell (WBC) count is dropping, but that's to be expected. They were on an artificial high, not a natural high, from the Neupogen injections.

I'm particularly thrilled at the red blood cell (RBC) and hemoglobin (HGB) counts. They are at their highest since I began the chemo process in late March. Since I haven't had a transfusion since Day 7, November 22, we know this is a natural high. My reinfused stem cells are doing an excellent job of pumping out new RBCs.

And the platelets took only a slight dip, not a nose dive, since my transfusion on the morning of November 29. This is a very encouraging trend. (Hmmm . . . Substitute "Dow Jones" for "platelets," and I sound like a business writer.)

In spite of high hemoglobin and high spirits, my energy levels are at a natural low, but this is perfectly normal. I'm inspired by our felines, Tiger and Heather, who use a series of cat naps (or is it one long nap) to recharge their purring machines.

I've been trying to go on one small, non-hospital-related outing each day, but it may be too much just now. On Friday night, Mary picked me up to take me to a reading by the students in Terrie Silverman's Creative Rites workshop. The readings were engaging, entertaining and inspiring, but my eyelids started to become heavy after 45 minutes.

On Saturday morning, I couldn't resist the urge to go to a 50%-off private sale for Wasabi Jewelry. Throw in an extra 20% off for earrings and bracelets, and there was no way I could stay away, especially since I was getting tired of wearing the same two pairs of earrings. I felt up to the 14 minute drive to a private home in Pasadena, 20 minutes of browsing and paying, and a 14 minute drive home. (Mapquest has become particularly valuable in helping me figure out, "Am I up to this?")

I was filled with the thee Vs (vim, vigor and vitality) until I was ready to pay. By that point, I was pooped and needed to plop down in a chair in order to pull out cash for my two new pairs of earrings. After I returned home, it was time for George and me to head for the City of Hope for my blood draw. By the time we arrived home again two hours later, I was exhausted and joined the cats for a mid-day nap.

I guess it all goes back to the title of a former Paula post: Nap time WILL be enforced. The good news is that we don't need to call in the nap police to get me to snooze these days.


Karen said...

Go stem cells, go stem cells! I love it that they're doing their job in such efficient fashion. Their numbers may be few, but they are fighting the good fight. :-)

Remember, it's not the worst thing in the world to actually stay home all day. I'm writing a book and I've pretty much stayed home all day every day for the last month (yes, it gets old!).

You need to get all that rest so your cells can go back into battle refreshed.

Susan Carrier said...

Dr. Forman likes to say that we had a hard time getting the 2 million minimum stem cells, but we managed to get the RIGHT stem cells. Small in number but mighty in power.

denise said...

So busy in my own trials and tribulations of being semi-bedridden that I hadn't taken the time to pop in on your blog - I'M ON A NATURAL HIGH MYSELF, just seeing that you're home.

Welcome home, Susan - Power to your stem cells - Whoopie :)

Mathews Family said...

I smiled as soon as I saw that your WBC's were within normal range. You sound like you're feeling great and everything is going well. So great to hear. I looked up some Wasabi jewelry. I love this piece!

Lilli said...

Awesome news! Three cheers for your stem cells!

I do thinking taking a lesson from your pets is a good one. My dog will romp wildly, chasing after her toys and then, for no apparent reason that I can see, she'll just stop, find a spot in the sun and lick her paws. She looks at me wondering why I bothered to throw the toy again. Didn't I know it was time to rest?

The answer is often no. As a human, I'm too busy running around and not listening to my body's natural instincts -- the ones that say napping is a necessary and wonderful thing.

But it sounds like your body is doing some awesome things. Even if you're not working, it sounds like your body is. It deserves a nap, lots of them!

Ann said...

Susan, you are amazing. You're numbers are outstanding! Get used to being vertical more often than not. I tried skipping naps in the beginning and it only made me very cranky--I also suffered lower RBC counts, so I gave in and listened to my body. Try not to over do it, especially when you feel like you could single handedly re-paint the house in less than 15 minutes. Give those stem cells a hug for me.

Mary Ellen said...

Hi Susan,
Am so glad to hear you are home again. You sounded great when we chatted while you were at COH. Danielle and Claire were here this weekend and asked how you were doing and I gave them the great news. I am glad things are going so well and I will call soon. MEM

Barbara Roth said...

I am so happy you got the right stems cells and that your numbers are going strong. I called City of Hope to find out about how to donate platelets for you and they said you wouldn't get them in time if I donated them in Sacto and sent them down. I will have to think of another thing to do for you. Won't you give me some ideas? You are the best!

Susan Carrier said...

Barbara, Thanks for trying to give the platelets all the way from Sacramento. You have already done so much, but I'm ready for one of your scarves!

suzy keleher said...

Well, I'm so happy that it is hard to know what to say! A gift of mighty stem cells: Christmas came early for you, Susan. More gifts to come! Love you and nonstop prayers for you and yours! Love, Suze

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