Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Testing, testing...again

Last week I felt like my legs were getting worse. Instead of growing stronger, they were getting more wobbly and weak. And my hands were shaking more than before.

I did go to two yoga classes, and they went better than the previous try. But whereas I had run (sort of) around the lake in the past few weeks, last week I didn't have the strength to do it.

I also took Katie to New York for a day and went to a dance concert and an art lecture at a gallery in Northampton. And went with friends to a maple sugar shack where we had delicious pancakes. I envy you Californians a lot of things, but I like this March and April tradition in New England.


I was concerned about my legs. And about my hands shaking more than before. I thought maybe my red count had fallen. But my breathing was fine, so I let it go until my appointment, which was yesterday.

Sure enough, my counts were fine. Dr. Alyea printed them out for me "as a souvenir." It said hematocrit, 31.4; white count, 7.8; and platelets, 81. Then just for reassurance, because I've brought this up before, I told him I still have problems with word retrieval and memory loss. I was waiting to hear the usual: there is really something to chemobrain; so much has been done to me and I need more time to fully recover; etc. Instead he looked at me when I said "yoga" and said maybe I shouldn't push myself so hard. Then he said I should get another MRI to make sure everything's OK in my brain.

I hesitated. "But I've had MRIs and CAT scans recently." He said to do it anyway – that day – so we can put this behind us.

The first time I got an MRI I was pretty freaked out by all the sounds of banging and drilling and rifle fire. Now I've had it done so many times I almost fell asleep. The technician said it would be ready to read either yesterday or today.

I called today and didn't hear back. Off went my imagination. So many things to do, and all I can do is catastrophize. "My brain is bleeding and sending off little sparks that are making me walk with a lurch and bump into things." Or, "I beat leukemia and now, so sad, little monsters will be coming out of my head." (Don't worry, I made that one up.)

I talked to several people today who were all very rational. They all said, STOP, STOP, STOP! I wasted one week worrying about my counts, and now the MRI is taking over this week? I've had lots of tests. I've been good at going with the flow – sometimes – and sometimes the crazy person comes out. I will try to get her calmed down tomorrow.

News flash:

At yesterday's weigh-in, I was one pound higher than my normal weight. So I've gained 25 pounds. When I was so skinny, I shared my weight with everyone. I'm not telling now. I'm watching my fat intake. I guess it's the normal process of starting to eat again and also the side effects of the prednisone.


PJ said...

I gained 10 lbs so far on the prednisone and am going for 5 more. After that my pants feel tight.

Hope you get good news on the mri.

Anonymous said...

What, you got pancakes without me?


Ann said...

I'm with you on the brain thing. Try not to worry about the MRI. Results come in when they come in. Please post when you know something.

Anonymous said...


Your article Running for My Life from the New York Times has been hanging on my closet for almost 5 years. I am also a runner but about 5 years ago was going through a depression, felt extremely unmotivated and had not run in a long time. I read your story in the Times and felt completely inspired. I have been running ever since. I'm not depressed and have lots of friends I met through various running groups. I know it doesn't compare to what you went through but I thought geez, if she can run around the hospital I can at least get out there again and attempt a short run. The rest as they say is history.

I check in on your blog from time to time and am very happy you are doing well. Somehow, I am not surprised. Thank you for your courage and determination, it certainly is contagious and I for one am grateful for it.


Trish said...


the "so sad, little monsters"...I literally spit water out all over the kitchen reading that!

am also lol'ing over the MRI noise---I had an MRI on my hand last year and I *DID* fall asleep. Poor tech had to wake me up!

What you've written is what we all worry about---the little things, that might be huge, honkin big things---that, as you've shown, turn out to be fine. I've worried about word retrieval lately---we think it is "getting older", lack of sleep combined with chemo brain. My doc has said to me "Don't worry about these things---you lost enough brain cells with the chemo, you can't afford to spend this much on worrying!". I actually thanked him for reminding me of this.

Glad the MRI came back clean. May they all come back clean.