February’s Check-up

Two weeks ago, it was time for my monthly oncologist appointment. The messages were mixed; but nothing too extreme. Before I visited with the doctor, I had to have my blood drawn. They check all kinds of things, but they are mostly concerned with my liver enzymes. I am thankful to say that most of the numbers were good. The white blood count was down a bit, but not enough to cause any real concern.

Drawing the blood was frustrating. I came very close to getting angry with the lab tech. It took them four tries to finally get enough blood to test. Yes, Nathan, FOUR STICKS!! (Inside joke.) And because I have no lymph nodes on my ride side, they cannot draw blood from my right arm. So, two needle sticks in my left arm and two in my left hand. Finally, several bruises and a couple of collapsed veins later, and the technician was met with success – two vials of blood. (Kind of makes you wish you had been there, huh?)

Dr. Elia said that the inability to successfully draw blood was a strong indicator that I was dehydrated. I found that very hard to believe because I drink anywhere between 150-200 ounces of water a day. And, yes, I’m up all night going to the bathroom.

Remember how the Cymbalta (depression meds) was causing me to have a parched mouth? Apparently, the dry mouth was just the beginning – especially after they doubled my dosage. I can’t imagine being dehydrated drinking as much water as I do. I even sleep with a jug of water next to the bed. Lots of drinking and lots of trips to the bathroom. It doesn’t make logical sense. Oh well…

The doctor continues to be pleased with the progress I am making. Each month, however, she mentions that if something were to happen that caused me to want to stop, it would be okay. She reminds me that very few people can make it the entire twelve months. She has even given me the option of taking a break for a couple of weeks before finishing the treatments.

Despite the extreme fatigue, I’ve been feeling pretty good. Then, my pride started to take hold. No way am I quitting. I’m not taking a break. I’m pushing through this until I have finished. I am going to be one of the few successful ones – the few that actually complete the entire treatment. 

Boy was I wrong. More tomorrow…

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