27 January 2009

Good news, bad news and how you decide ~ Tuesday medical update

My Papa used to say, "You win some. You lose some. And sometimes it's a draw." I'm also thinking that sometimes it is all three combined and you don't really wind up with a draw.

First, the good news. I feel good. Sounds simple, doesn't it? But since before Christmas there have been very few days that I can say I felt good. I've felt OK some days, but not good. So good is good. My red counts are the highest they've been since I was in Italy. I got 2 units of red cells on Friday, but that is still good. It's already 67° here and the sun is shining. That's good! I hate winter, so this is very good for my psyche. I'm focusing on the good.

Next, the bad news. My neutrophil count is 0.1. Not as bad as 0.0, but this is NOT a good thing. I have been neutropenic since before Christmas. It turns out this is a scary thing. Much scarier than I realised. When a person has been neutropenic for more than 20 days, their chances of catching something/anything are greatly increased. And the longer they are neutropenic, the worse it gets.

Neutropenic is when the neutrophil count of the white blood cells is below 0.5. (Neutrophils are the part of the white cells that actually fight infections and give you immunity.) It's why I can't go anywhere, have to wear a mask when I'm around anyone, shouldn't have fresh flowers, etc., etc., etc. I'm particularly at risk for PCP pneumonia. This is the type of pneumonia that affects AIDS patients and others with severely compromised immune systems. It is a big problem. (Kills people and relatively quickly if not treated right away.) Normally it would be treated preventatively with sulfa drugs. But sulfa drugs suppress your blood counts. Since we are trying to get my blood counts up, we don't want to depress them. Plus, my lymph glands have been a little swollen the last few mornings. No fever, but it's something to watch.

I am allergic to penicillin, so my antibiotic choices are somewhat limited. Today they started me on Dapsone for at least a month or until we see significant white count improvement, and a new round of Levaquin for 14 days.

And more bad news. Well, I guess it's not really news. But I am on Day 8 of the Dacogen treatment cycle. That means I have not yet reached the nadir, so my counts are likely to go even lower.

They tell me I look good. I feel good. Seems to me I ought to BE good. How do you tell? Well, I've just DECIDED to BEA good. The fact that I even have a white count and have the good red count is promising though. So I am seriously asking to please send good vibes, pray, think healthy thoughts, etc. And I'm putting out a challenge for anyone who believes that visualisation works. Here is an image with neutrophils.

If you have a chance or any spare time, please visualise these reproducing and populating my blood stream. More neutrophils is a GOOD THING!

Expected news. My platelet count is 6. I have to get a transfusion today, but the blood bank wouldn't release any platelets until this afternoon. At 1:30 I go to the surgeon to have him look at my port site again. I'm down to a giant bandaid type bandage instead of gauze, tape, etc., so I'm hoping he will release me. After I see him, I go back to get platelets. When I get home I will do my best to stay awake for the home health nurse and then will likely conk out from Benadryl.

Thank you once again to everyone who donates platelets and blood. You all really are a treasure.

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Anonymous said...

Becky lots of prayers and visualizing happy little neutrophils coming your way!

Mari at Once Upon a Plate said...

Beckylove, you bet, my friend. ((gentle hugs))

I'm sending strong prayers, and positive vibes of health and healing your way.

I do believe in visualization, and will continue to focus on an abundance of neutrophils reproducing in your blood stream. Thank you for putting the image up for us.

I have my family here praying and cheering you on as well.

I'm sure it's not always easy, but hold that positive attitude, it will get you over the rough parts.

Come on neutrophils! xo~m.

Kristen said...

Dearest Becky... I will be praying hard for you my friend. You know I am a prayer. I will be having my prayer warriors praying too! Visualising those neutrophils growing rapidly!

Your attitude is a witness! God bless you friend!

Martha said...

A friend of mine who was a nurse said that a real study showed that patients who could imagine their white cells as white knights slaying dragons (the bad cells) actually had a increase in the number of white cells. So as you're falling asleep, imagine your white cells are knights slaying dragons. You may be surprised.


Hilary said...


Count me in for visualization as I'm a strong believer in that and spiritual intuition. Think good thoughts and stay on that positive attitude path!

mary said...


I am visulizing those neutrophils multiplying right now!

And I am prayiing for you every day.

Bless you,


Elaine E said...

Visualization works...and you and those neutrophils are in my thoughts and prayers. What a blessing that you FEEL good...I hope that feeling continues and strengthens.


JudiRedhead said...

As Joel woulld say, ENLARGE your visions and believe! I am doing that for you this moment, I hope you feel the energy!

Lizzy said...

Becky, I will do all of the above: visualize, pray for and think of you. You are amazing with your positive attitude...stay strong!

Cathy said...

Becky, I'm praying for you and visualizing good health and happiness. That you are feeling well is very good news, indeed.

isaiah said...

we must always keep our faith that things will always be better and that tomorrow will b a better day.

Becky said...

You all are the best! Thank you so much for helping me out with this. I'm doing lots of visualisation and have added the white knights to my pictures. Have also ENLARGED my visions. The sky is not the limit, n'est pas?

Hugs to all! I truly do feel the love and energy!

Ms O said...

Becky, I'm thinking of you and visualizting on your behalf, too.

Sending you massive love and beholding you in God's protective light.

Lea xxx

Becky said...

Thanks Lea. I really appreciate it.

Gloria said...

I am with you all the way Becky,I also make it a point to light a candle for you every day on thoughts and prayers.Be well girlfriend.

gloria said...

Becky,we are all pulling for you on the board.