Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 1, Cycle 2. And oops, a bad hair day

Today I started cycle 2. Got into the infusion center pretty early (7:30) and got my blood work done. CBC results were pretty good:

  • RBC 3.98 (low, but normal is 4.4-6.38 so not terribly low)
  • Hemoglobin 12.6 (low, normal is 14.4 to 18.3 for an adult male my age. As this goes lower, I feel punkier on my workouts)
  • Hematocrit 36.9 (low, normal is 41.1 - 53.2, also another sign for workout punkiness)
  • WBC 6.14 (normal range is 3.83-9.22, still coasting off the Neulasta. Last cycle on day 8 I was down to 1.86, then rocketed up to over 8 in 4 days after the Neulasta injection)
  • Platelets 335 (normal is 164-412) This was down to 74 at the nadir of my chemo so this is another good sign that I recovered well from the last dose.
So in summary, blood chemistry is looking good, lymph nodes are shrinking, all systems go! I had a pretty mad few days of working out. Rode the bike on Thursday and Friday, two bike rides on Saturday (one doing part of Morgul/Bismark by myself, one doing a loop through Marshall and East Boulder with Susan.) Then a run with Susan on Sunday. BTW, details on all my workouts are in a Garmin site here. As an example for those of you too lazy to click through, here is info from my Saturday ride around part of MB in Superior:

So quick summary: I'm feeling pretty normal and I've been able to exercise quite a bit, which really helps me cope with all the chemo. I'm certainly feeling the chemo as my RBC chemistry gets messed up but it's not horrible. I can do stuff, just not at the level I could pre-chemo. And after the workouts my body feels pretty good so I'm pretty confident that I'm not overdoing anything. So, all good stuff on that front.

The only bump in the road is that I'm losing my hair. I've been doing a hair stress test the last week as my hair follicles were hurting which I thought meant that things were probably going on with my hair. Well, on Saturday, the engineer in me decided to do an experiment by pulling on my hair. Which I did. And it came out. Easily. In big clumps. Which  for most people would illicit a giant "OOhhhh! That's gross! And sad! And now I'm going to cry - or barf - or something..." I had a bit of that, but I also had a "Ahhh. This is cool." Kind of like the feeling you get when you pick at a scab or peel off sunburned skin. You kind of know that you shouldn't do it. But in some strange, primate grooming way, it's kind of fun. So I did some sampling around my head, thinking, well I'll just get another buzz cut and all sins will be forgiven.

Well, not really. Unless you get a real buzz cut, these mistakes in hair grooming are not covered up. In fact, they're made much more visible. So kids, don't try this at home:

So now I have a bald patch on the top of my head. And both sides. And the back (had to stress test all four quadrants to get an accurate sampling!).

And here's a clump of my newly orphaned hair:
Some care givers have to worry about their chemo patients being stuck on the couch all day with no energy. For Susan, it's more about trying to keep track of me and limiting the crazy things I do. Not an easy job, judging from the results on Saturday!

I asked Socrates what he thought. No response - he was too busy sleeping on one of Susan's sweaters. So I upped the game and threw my shorts on him. Nope, still not interested. Cats have got priorities and one of the most important ones is to sleep about 22 hours a day. So I have to respect his focus on keeping to his priorities!

Other good news is that I'm officially on schedule now to get my bone marrow transplant (following high dose chemo therapy). If all goes well over the next three weeks, I'll start the prep work for that in early March, get blasted the week of March 21st and should have a shiny new immune system by the middle of April. We're chatting with the bone marrow transplant coordinator and I'll post more info as we get it.

And oh, yeah. One more comment for Josh. Go Packers! Watched the Donald Driver video from your recent blog post with my son and both LOLed. Extremely cool. Couldn't bring myself to read the link about the kid that died. Still a bit too close to home. Hopefully I'll get my mojo together enough to watch that but not ready for that intensity just yet.

In Boulder it's going to get very cold tonight and tomorrow, so if you're local, keep warm! (And for my peeps in Cleveland, hope the incoming storm doesn't hammer you with too much snow!)

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