Well, that was kind of short lived. Last week instead of only going in twice, I ended up needing to visit the hospital four times for appointments and unanticipated transfusions. I’m fine but wasn’t feeling particularly good. Aware that my blood levels felt low, I called up my office to see if I could come in and my suspicions were confirmed. On my bonus trips last Wednesday and Thursday, I got platelets and then a RBC transfusion. I mean, I really just wanted to spend more time in the recliner watching daytime TV and getting to know the nursing staff. ;-) Hopefully moving forward, those little extra adventures won't be required, especially since I’ve become so adept at flushing and changing my own PICC line dressing at home!
Overall, my marrow growth is making progress. Slowly but surely, my ANC is doing a little dance between 0.6-0.8 recently (it got as high as 0.99, then chickened out, normal range is 1.8-7.7 10e3/uL), these silly, vacillating neutrophils need to bring some friends to the party! I’m considered no longer severely neutropenic (hello, well-washed salads!) but still am neutropenic and need to be careful and well aware of my surroundings to NOT catch anything. Sorry, cute little children, but right now your germy-ness, is not welcomed in up close and personal encounters. On the blood front, I’m still needing transfusions but it looks like I’m having a little bit longer frequency between platelets, which is certainly good news! Fingers-crossed this trend continues and that my RBC transfusions start to spread out as well (currently every two weeks).
After seeing my oncologist today, it was decided that I’m at a good place to start with Neupogen, a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, a.k.a. neutrophil grower. Hopefully this can help to kickstart some more growth and help move me out of the neutropenic zone! I had my first shot today after receiving platelets and am hopeful for the boost. In talking to my doctor and doing some research, the most common side effect to look out for are bone (!) and muscle pain. So yeah, I’ll definitely let them know if I get bone pain because that doesn’t particularly sound pleasant, if it's anything like my bone biopsy.
Regarding “what’s the big picture?”, it looks like I should be able to go back to the sunshine in January at-a-date-yet-to-be-decided. If all goes well and the need for transfusions decrease to a point that my PICC line can also be removed. Yay, for the ability to take showers normally! Which, in my mind, would also mean that I could then start slowly to run and throw some more arm balances into my yoga practice again...per doctor consent....and listening to my body.