Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 1

Not much to report, except feeling like crap last night. Skip forward a paragraph if you don't want to hear me complain about it. Around 9 pm I started getting a headache, so I asked the nurse for some Tylenol. Unfortunately Tylenol rarely works for my headaches, but with my low platelet count I'm not allowed to get Excedrin, which usually does the trick. The headache got worse, and by 10 pm I was in agony. I hate getting headaches, and they feel especially worse when you're confined in a small environment. It was one of those headaches where it becomes impossible to sleep or rest in any position, and it feels like someone drove a nail behind your eye. Light, sound and movement all trigger the pain, and it's impossible to make go away. For me, headaches also lead to intense nausea, so I knew I needed to resolve it before it got out of hand. Unfortunately, another side effects of headaches on me is that it has a big impact on my motivational skills. My tendency is to just curl into a ball with my head in my hands and stick it out. Luckily, the small voice in my head reminded me that I needed to do something about it, so I got on the horn again to the nurse and asked for something stronger. She called the doc and he prescribed oxycodone. Even the lights on my IV pump were giving me shooting pains. Once the oxycodone went down, I hunkered down again and started feeling the nausea come on. I've had oxycodone in the past, and it's given me nausea before. But it was worth it. After a few rounds of vomiting and getting my mouth all cleaned up each time (to avoid the nasty mucositis mind you), the headache finally started dissipating and the nausea cleared up. Puking in bed sucks. You're supposed to use the little pink bucket by the bed that's specifically for this purpose instead of running to the toilet, since they need to measure the fluid output of the vomitus. Fun.

So this morning I woke up with a small headache still there, but by the time I'd eaten breakfast and did another mile lap around the hospital floor, it was all cleared up. Thank god. I think the problem was partially the lack of sleep I had yesterday, but with all the different medications it's not uncommon to have side-effects like that. Almost every medication and IV drug I'm taking lists nausea and headache as a side-effect, so it's amazing that I even feel good at all sometimes pumped up on all that stuff. The doctor wrote an order for imitrex, which is a migraine medicine, so we'll give that a shot next time.

The methotrexate chemotherapy drug that was given this morning went fine. The purpose of this additional chemotherapy is to slow down the growth of the new stem cells so that they don't become hostile too quickly. It's given on days 1, 3, 6 and 11, so this morning was the first dose. I was a little concerned about more chemotherapy, but the amount is really tiny. The nurse came in with a syringe about the diameter of a pencil, and it was only about an inch full. They don't really anticipate any side effects from these small doses.

The neutrophil count today is just about 0, at 0.01, right where it should be. Having very low neutrophils like this is where it starts getting tricky to keep from getting infections, since even at levels below 0.5 you run the risk of getting infected by your own bacteria. I've been feeling minor chills go over my body every once in a while today, and this is consistent with how it felt last time. It's sort of that ominous, sickly feeling that you get sometimes right before a cold comes on. The doctors expect fevers and infections, so each day past the transplant where I don't have a fever is another day in the bank.

A follow blogger named Michelle recently had a cord-blood transplant a few months ago right here in this building, and she's doing great, though even on Day 69 she's still battling a few viruses and carries her IV pump around with her. Hopefully the time will fly by fast, but Day 1 went by pretty slowly and it sure seem like a long way away to be thinking about milestones like Day 28, Day 50, and Day 100. That's all of February, March and April.

Today I hung out with my dad in the morning, then Johanna's sister Val came by and joined me on my afternoon mile-walk in the afternoon. I'm reading Into Thin Air which is a page-turner, but chose to put it down and get a few hours of sleep after dinner to prevent any headaches tonight. Cindy and Brian came by to watch Lost, which was totally confusing since I don't remember much of last week's episode. Time to catch up.

Over and out.


Beth said...

Glad you got past the headache -- those nasty, behind the eyes, I'm going to puke headaches are the worst.

Best luck today -- maybe, as you said, a day at a time is best.
Jeff and Beth

George said...

Definitely a day at a time. Your ordeal is just so much more intense than my open heart surgery... but anyway I love to talk about myself. So here's a tidbit from me.

So for a few days in the hospital after the surgery I was having problems breathing and pain while breathing, X-Rays were showing an air pocket in my lungs...they said they would have to do a chest tube (uncomfortable) if it didn't clear up... so for the next few days... while watching cartoons I just breathed in and out very slowly. It was like full days worth of meditation. X-Rays the next few days showed it clearing up.

And what's with this monitoring puke levels? Sounds like they are following 7 Effective Habits of Successful Bulemics. ;P

George said...

Ohhh BTW I think you should put Day +1. It just seems more awesome.

Nic said...

Glad to hear you got through the first round of headaches and ick... I'm hoping to swing by again some time next week but right now I have a little tickle in my throat that I'd prefer to keep to myself ;-)

(and by the way, Lost is confusing, no matter how much you remember of the last episode ;-)

Simon said...

Ouch, sounds pretty horrible. Next time you get a headache, see if they can rustle up an ice pack or a heat pack to put on your face. See if either one helps. It might not make the pain go away completely, but I find it helps a bit when I get those really awful headaches.

Hope last night was better.

- S