Monday, February 23, 2009

Day +27 - Milestone bone marrow biopsy

That's my portable IV pump and magnesium bag, sitting on my "IV purse", a little travel bag that I borrowed from Johanna. The backpack from the SCCA is great, but I found it's overkill for what I need right now, since the backpack has elaborate pouches and velcro straps meant for the big IV bags of fluid and it can take a few minutes just to lock everything down. With the magnesium, I can just drop everything in the purse and it's no problem. I've gotten the hang of this infusion business so that now that I can spike the bag, prime the tube, program the pump, flush my Hickman, drop everything in the travel bag, and be back up and about in just a few minutes. Unhooking is even quicker.

My dad picked us up at 6:30 am this morning for my first bone marrow biopsy after the transplant. This will determine how well the new stem cells are engrafting and whether there are still signs of the disease. All transplant patients have this bone marrow biopsy on or around Day 28, so it's a big milestone. Up until this point we've only assumed that things are going well with the engraftment, but the biopsy will give us an accurate determination. After a quick blood draw, it was time to get sedated :) As I'm falling asleep, the room quickly fills up with various people, including my doc, the lab guy who will collect the specimens, the technician performing the operation, and the sedation guy. My dad and Johanna stayed in the room to watch.

The biopsy went great, and I'm hardly even sore. But to ward off any future soreness, I took a 2-mile walk with my dad to my favorite coffee shop, and it felt good to be outside and active. I've noticed if I just sit around after a bone marrow biopsy my hip will be sore for days, which makes it hard to get in and out of the car, among other things. Hopefully we'll know the results of the biopsy in a day or two.

Last night Johanna changed my Hickman dressing for the first time and she did a great job. Two sets of gloves are required, and there is a lot of sterilization and scrubbing involved. The dressing is basically a super-sterile piece of adhesive plastic with a small "bio-goo" square in the middle that covers the entry site. The bio-goo releases Chlorhexidine, a chemical antiseptic. The nice thing about the Hickman dressing is that it's waterproof, so all I need to do before showering is to cover the ends of the catheters with a special parafilm wax, and that's it. With the PICC line, I had to saran wrap my arm with tape (hard to do by yourself) and the tape was constricting when showering and painful to remove. The Hutch has really done a lot to make the Hickman dressing as unobtrusive as possible and are constantly making improvements. In fact, this new all-in-one dressing with the "bio-goo" attached was just put into use in 2009.

This weekend we had lots of awesome food stuff going on. We started Saturday morning by making 22 breakfast burritos to be frozen for eating later. I'm in love with New Mexico style breakfast burritos, with scrambled eggs, hot green chiles, hash browns or potatoes and fresh, flour tortillas. Now that one of our favorite grocery stores, Central Market, makes fresh flour tortillas right in the store we've been making burritos to be frozen. So Jenny and Greg came over, and we had a fun time making an assembly line and making all the burritos.

Sunday morning Nic and Rachael came by and we served them up some awesome blueberry buttermilk pancakes with lots of bacon on the side. I have a favorite recipe for buttermilk pancakes, and the blueberries knocked it out of the park. I'm definitely going to use blueberries again. We then did a 2-mile walk to Cloud City Coffee and back and chatted all along the way. It's nice to see our West Seattle friends :) I should go over there to do some of my walks.

Sunday night, Simon and Justine came by and treated us to a smorgasbord of delicious pizzas, all from scratch. Simon's a bit of a foodie and brought in a tray of 8 perfect little balls of pizza dough that he had made the day before, along with a bunch of fresh ingredients including buffalo mozzarella, peppadew, arugula, pesto, sheep's milk feta, mint, and this amazing home-made tomato sauce. He even made sure all the ingredients were pasteurized and fit the food requirements for me to eat. He heated up his pizza stone, and started making pizzas one after the other with various combinations of toppings. It was heaven.

Tomorrow morning I have a quick blood draw. Then in the afternoon a visit with the nutritionist, another infusion of Mesenchymal stem cells and a clinic visit with the doctor. Hopefully the infusion will go as fast as the last one. Oh, and in other news, I'm finally not in contact isolation anymore, which was a designation I was given after discovering that I had the c.diff virus while I was in the hospital. Instead of normally worrying about getting infected by others, the presence of c.diff meant that the clinic staff had to protect themselves against me so that they wouldn't pass the virus to other patients. So each time I go in for a clinic visit or blood draw at the SCCA, all the nurses and doctors and technicians have to wear gloves and gowns around me. And each time I use the restroom there I have to flip over a sign on the door that says, "DO NOT USE", which instructs the cleaners to bleach clean the bathroom after I use it. It's been a pain, so it's nice to finally be out of contact isolation.

1 comment:

George said...

I'm totally optimistic about the bone marrow biopsy.

Happy Milestone!! THis is a big one. And I'm glad yer getting a chance to enjoy the little things in life like food and walking and coffee. Definitely a mixed blessing as they say.

You are a power walker man. You should get a pedometer to see how many steps. They are cheap like 10 bux. I have one. I try to walk 10k a day. I usually make it because I'm in this huge complex. It's actually great exercise.