Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Good tennis, good counts

Ben and I enjoyed our second annual trip to the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I., Sunday, watching 6'9" John Isner defeat 5'6" Olivier Rochus 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Newport's grass courts.

The setting is so intimate that, in addition to seeing the players up close and personal, you get to keep an eye on all the other action, such as the tiny ball boy who seemed to put a big effort into jumping to give Isner a towel.

Isner has one of the fastest serves in tennis (140 mph), and you could practically hear it whiz through the air. On occasion, his serve did something wacky and still stayed in, and he turned to give our section a funny smile, which earned a ripple of laughter.

Rochus, who is from Belgium, is the shortest player on the tour; Isner, an American, is the second tallest (6'10" Ivo Karlovic of Croatia is the tallest). When we are tossing our trivia around, Ben and I will now be able to say that the match we saw had the greatest height differential in an ATP World Tour final. (Yeah, I'm sure this will come up a lot).

The day also included lunch at a restaurant with a view of boats on the water and a drive into Newport with spectacular views of Narragansett Bay. Also, of course, it was a great to spend the time with Ben.

So that was Sunday.

Yesterday, Katie drove with me to Boston for my appointments at Dana-Farber. (As many parents know, travel time is a great time to catch up with a child, so I enjoyed the ride with her. Next time I'll get Joe.)

Everything went well.

I spent a lot of time dozing in chairs while waiting to be seen; the new building was supposed to improve wait times, but I guess they're not there yet. Anyway...

My counts were good, with the caveat, when considering the platelets, that they're OK for me:

WBC: 9  (normal=3.8-9.2)
Hemoglobin: 11  (normal=11.9-15.0)
Hematocrit: 31.6  (normal=34.8-43.6)
Platelets: 76  (normal=155-410)

The platelets are about the same as at my last visit, six weeks ago. I asked Melissa why they weren't going up; she said they are not concerned and that there could be several (benign) influencing factors.

When glancing over the counts back home, I did almost fall off my chair when I looked at the ferritin level: 6,766, very high when considering that normal range is 10-170.

I knew that from all my transfusions my level of ferritin – the protein that stores iron in the body – was high, but frankly, I had never asked how high. I had been taking daily doses of Exjade, a drug that decreases ferritin levels, but I took a break while dealing with other matters. (I was happy to stop because it's a pain to take. You have to dissolve five pills in water, chug the stuff down and then wait half an hour to eat.)

Melissa said my level is actually lower now; it was around 10,000 at one point. But she said it's as good a time as any to restart. So here I go.

I also met with Dr. Laura Goguen, the surgeon who operated on my tongue. She said it is healing very nicely. She also said my continuing discomfort makes sense due to the number of nerve endings on the tongue, but there's nothing much to do about it if I don't want to pop Tylenol all day. At least at this point it is more background noise than sharp pain the way it was in the beginning.

After the long day in the car and at the clinic, I went for a run when I got home. It was still pretty hot and humid, but it felt good to move. I went about 2 1/2 miles, which included twice around the lake plus there and back. Dripping sweat, I came home and walked Maddie probably another half-mile.

You don't normally think about it when your feet don't hurt, but I am still so close to the experience of them killing me that I appreciate the absence of pain.

I think I will maintain the 2 1/2 miles for a while and then add another half when I'm confident that all systems are in order.


PJ said...

One thing I regret about moving from RI is the beauty of Newport, which was only 30 minutes away.

My ferritin level was over 7000 when I started Exjade in October. Now that it's high-normal, my doctor said I can quit the stuff. It took 8 months to get me there.

Anonymous said...


i am exhausted just thinking of your waiting for the results -- how on earth could you run when you got home? on top of Maddie-Time?

You will always take my breath away -- in the good sense of your being so strong! Amazon-Amazing-Ronni!

Kindly keep up the exercise so that i can also lose weight! and lose the anxiety of the wait!

Ann said...

2 1/2 miles is really impressive. I haven't touched the treadmill in over a month with everything going on down here. I have a friend who just celebrated her 5 year transplant anniversary. Her platelets only broke 100 this year. Yours have remained steady and that's really whats important. You and PJ continue to motivate me and keep me on my toes.

Jim said...

Great report, great counts, great run. I love Newport, too, though most of my time there was in Officer Candidate School. I prefer the more relaxed tour you just had. Blessings, Ronni.