Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good counts, interesting conversation yesterday

My counts were good at yesterday's clinic visit.

White count was up to 3.3 (almost normal!)

Platelets were 163. Normal, yay! (I stopped lifting my little weights when my platelets plunged, but now I no longer have an excuse.)

My hematocrit dropped a little, to 28.3, and hemoglobin dropped to 10. I was surprised, because my energy has been fine. In any case, I earned a shot of Aranesp to give my red cells a boost.

People were talkative yesterday in the clinic. Interestingly, I met two women who were lucky to have sisters who were excellent bone marrow matches. One had received her sister's marrow nearly four years ago and was doing wonderfully. She sat in the waiting room, smiling and lightly holding her husband's hand and looking not the least bit nervous to be there. In fact, she looked quite happy. We briefly exchanged stories. I remember that I had the same kind of confidence when I was nearly four years out. I was a little envious, but also happy to see a survivor who was doing so well.

Later I talked to a woman who had recently finished chemo and was about to be admitted to get her transplant. Her sister, who was with her, would be her donor. Two similar faces looked at me, the difference being that one had hair and the other wore a headscarf. They had had a long day of pre-admission testing. 

They asked about me. "I had a transplant in June," I said.

They looked at me for a minute.

"Why do you have so much hair?" one of the sisters asked.

Well, then, there's the rest of the story...

You could really get me going on the hair topic: "Yeah, I know, I have a lot of hair, and it's still so curly. I can't wait until it calms down. Some of my friends think I should cut it all off to where it was about an inch long. They thought it looked really cool. But it reminded me too much of post-cancer hair. So I'm trying to let it grow, but it keeps pouffing out so much that sometimes it drives me crazy. I think I should at least wait until seven months out, when my doctor said I could color it. I asked my son Joe the other day, and he said 'Stay the course.'"
Bla bla bla. 

Anyway I didn't say any of this. I figure my friends and family have had to listen to it enough, although in a second it might have poured out of me and I might even have asked these strangers for their advice.

Instead, I answered that I had had a transplant in October (not to mention the auto five years ago), but the graft failed so they redid it and now I was doing well and it sounded like she would be too.

It interesting how we do these little dances with strangers. I know how sensitive I am, and so I don't like to mention my "episodes" when asked by someone just embarking on a similar treatment. Of course I also know that everyone is different. But we pick up little bits and pieces of other peoples' stories and end up relating to them in one way or another.

I gave the sisters a big smile to show them that I was now doing fine (knock wood), and we all wished each other well.


susiegb said...

Great news on the counts! I think you're beating me on the platelets count now (but only by a few!) ... :)

Susan C said...

Congrats on the great counts. I love days like that when I get into interesting conversations with other patients.

I'm like Susie. My platelets are still a bit below normal.

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Ronni,
Happy to read about your improving counts. A good reason to celebrate in some small way and to remain hopeful about tomorrow.
With hope, Wendy

Anonymous said...

Sounds like all your new stem cells are r-e-a-l happy with their new home! Now stay healthy, eat right, exercise often, sleep plenty and keep smiling to keep your new immune system up to par...oh...your mother told you that a long time ago...yeah, she was smart!
Good job!

Mikha'el said...

Congrats on the blood count news and also on leaving the sisters with a smile of hope.

donna said...

I'm reminded of the good read "Pay It Forward." You have received a lot of love and support from family and friends through dark and worrisome days. Your strength and positive attitude are something else! We are so excited about your great counts!!! You are truly on the right track. And now it is you who are encouraging others with kind words and thoughts. Way to go, Ronni!!!!!!