Monday, September 15, 2008

The long wait was worth it

I always expect to wait in the clinic for a while before my checkup, but today the waiting time was close to a record: two hours. I came, as usual, prepared with today's New York Times, leftover sections from yesterday, the book I am currently reading ("The Story of Edgar Sawtelle") and my little blue notebook, in case I need to jot down a question or a random thought.

I went through the newspaper and was reading the book when I finally got into a room. Sometimes I get caught up in thinking that delay signals bad news for me, and then my heart rate picks up and panic sets in. Today, though, I did a pretty good job of keeping the lid on. Maybe it was because I was so tired. I almost fell asleep in the chair. I did, however, have to resist my impulse to run into the hall, grab anyone with a white coat, and say to them, "Please, just turn on the computer and tell me my counts!"

Today I was scheduled with nurse practitioner Melissa Cochran. Finally, she came in. I knew the delay wasn't her fault; sometimes the whole system just seems to get incredibly backed up. Melissa apologized for the wait and asked me how I was feeling. I said generally pretty good, although I've been having some stomach problems.

She turned on the computer.
Drum roll ...

My white blood count was up to 3.8, in the normal range of 3.8-9.2. I can't remember when my WBC was last in the threes.
Hematocrit was up to 31.1 (normal is 34.8-43.6). Hurray for Aranesp!

Platelets were down a little, from 141 ten days ago to 133 today. (Normal is 155-410.) But 133 sounds good compared to my low of 4 during my last hospital stay.

If the counts are low, I usually toss the printout.
Today, I kept it. After quite a bit of worrying during the past week, I was, naturally, very happy.

Plus, Melissa said I could get a coffee for the drive home. By now it was rush hour in Boston, and I knew that door-to-door the drive would be at least two hours, so I was happy I could get coffee.

For the first time, I walked into a Starbucks and got a coffee.
Now, that felt normal.


Anonymous said...


I'm happy to read about your good news and good numbers. I'll stop by for more (I trust) soon.

Take care & be well,

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome! I'm glad you got such good news after such a crazy wait, I can turn into a wreck waiting for even the stupidest things. I'm glad you can have Starbucks again! I know that would be a big deal to me...

Susan C said...

What a long day, between the 2-hour wait and the 2-hour commute home.

Congratulations on those stellar blood counts. They really were worth the wait.

I'm thinkin' that Starbucks must have tasted mighty good.

PJ said...

Congratulations on the great counts! Are you saying you haven't been allowed to drink coffee all this time? Remind me to tell you my Brigham & Women's coffee story some time.

susiegb said...

Well, those blood counts are impressive! I went and checked my last ones (from July). My wcc was 2.8 - not as good as yours! And platelets were 106 - the first time they'd been in 3 figures since before I started chemo!!

Anyway Ronnie - congratulations! Let's hope that old song is true - The only way is UP ... :)

Anonymous said...

I just love the way you write. Thanks for the good update! Keep up the good work. Korby

Anonymous said...

That's a great job on those counts! As someone who does a lot of driving and drinks a lot of Starbucks coffee, I know very well how important it is to have a coffee for the road.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation! I guess this means I have to start practicing more if I plan on beating you regularly in tennis.
Seriously, that's awesome!
See you Friday,

Anonymous said...

yahoo! that's awesome babe! and to be able to walk into starbucks is the icing on the cake...
next time I'm in town we can cozy up in a nice cafe and chat- which will be good timing since I'll be back in blustery november. so glad you're on track and doing well. you've made my day little cells!

Nancy said...

Ronni, Impressive Counts. You are truly inspirational. I didn't have Starbucks coffee made at a Starbucks coffee shop for about a year after transplant. I agree with you, it is such a joy!!! It's then that you realize the small joys in life that we used to take for granted. Keep up the good work.... love, nancy