Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Must Have Pressed My Luck, Because These Whammies are Killing Me

It's been a while since my last message, the one where I said, "I'm not in any pain or discomfort." Ha ha. Just a few hours after I tapped that out I started a delightful odyssey of pain and discomfort.

It started when I did a slow-motion collapse trying to leave the bathroom, requiring Vicky and two orderlies to get my narrow ass into a chair and eventually haul me back to bed.

Since then I've had a number of overlapping issues:
  • My lower back, which I just thought was sore from lying in the same position for too long, started to really hurt. A lot. A day or two of codeine dealt with that.
  • My neck and upper back became painfully stiff. It turned out to be the result of the spinal tap; with reduced cerebrospinal fluid, the meninges were thirsting and I was going to suffer until it was replenished. It's mostly okay now, but I can't help but notice that the aftereffects of the tap really are far, far worse than the procedure itself, which is pretty painless.
  • Constant migraines brought about by the spinal tap (see?!?). A mix of codeine and Maxoran sometimes keep these in check—I spent a few pain-free hours just relaxing last night—but most of the last few days have had me just lying in bed as immobile as possible. Sitting or standing makes it worse. A new development as of this morning has a constant humming noise in my ears, which sometimes makes people sound like they're talking over stormtrooper comms. I can't wait for the headaches to recede enough that I can read and listen to music again.
Overall, though, I'm feeling better than I was a few days ago. I can walk around on my own a bit (though I haven't ventured beyond my room) and the soreness from my chest catheter has diminished enough that more sleeping/resting positions are available to me.

In actual leukemia news, the first part of chemo (induction) ended on schedule during the wee hours of Saturday morning. My white blood count and neutrophils have bottomed out, and now my body begins rebuilding them. However, this now makes me more prone to infection than ever.

A bit before chemo ended I had two blood transfusions, and regular testing shows my platelet count to be progressing nicely.

Test results from the spinal tap came back yesterday. My cerebrospinal fluid is clear of leukemia (yay!) but cytogenetics revealed an errant seventh monosome (boo!) which adds something of a wrinkle. It's not certain yet, but I may be needing a bone marrow transplant. More news as we get it.

The doctor also said that my particular "constellation of symptoms"—diabetes insipidus, headaches, etc.—aren't common, but they are documented. More research and a plan of action are forthcoming.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a happy new year! Be well.



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