Thursday, March 17, 2011

my ticket to high speed bike descents; and I won the no-pee contest

Back at PSL this morning for more blood collection fun. I learned yesterday that the centrifuge process that is used to isolate your stem cells separates platelets very close to the area from which they collect the stem cells. So in this process, as a side effect of collecting stem cells they also collect platelets. My platelet count has gone from 174 (normal is 150-400) down to 16 over 2 days. If the count goes below 10 today they'll give me a bag of platelets. Platelets are the little guys that help your blod clot and running around with a low platelet count is a recipe for trouble if you have any physical trauma (falling off your bike, getting in a car accident, etc.)

To get me ready for the possible reception of platelets, I've been given a blood id tag for PSL. This makes it logistically easier for me to get blood - they've already typed and cross-matched my blood, etc.

So ok - why does this give me permission for high speed bike descents? Well, if I crash on my bike and need any blood products, I've already got my ID:
Ok, maybe this isn't the best logic in the world, but I'm always looking for a little edge on the bike!

And speaking of stupid ways of being competitive. For the last two days I was sitting next to a guy in his early 60s that's going through the same process as I am. We had an interesting conversation yesterday about his stint in Vietnam. Anyway, on both days he had to pee during the middle of his 5 hour session in the chair and I did not. So hah! My blood chemistry may be f__ked up but it looks like my bladder and prostrate are kicking some serious ass. In the old guy geezer sweepstakes being able to go 5 hours without peeing is a sign of a real champion. Or perhaps I'm just really dehydrated. 

Well, that's it for now. Most likely this will be my last day of collection. The stem cell count is still kind of low but at some point it's a case of diminishing returns. If my stem cell collection is lower than the target it may cause me to be a day or two slower to engraft my cells back into my bone marrow. But I had a good chat with the physician this morning and we won't go forward with the chemo next week until we're super confident that the stem cell transplant will be successful. I was worried about this last night lying in bed but after the conversation this morning  I'm comfortable that we're in good shape on that front.


  1. Woo! Way to incorporate bike racing and pee-holding competitions at the hospital, Dad. The Geo "well, NOW we eat cookies off the floor" hospital attitude is still going strong, I see. Keep up the good work! Love you!

  2. George and Susan- The Mildreths are sending all our thoughts and positive energy to you both as you begin this next phase on the road to cure! We can't wait until isolation time is over and we can hang out again and hear George's stories in person! Karen and Mike

  3. I bet your bar code is prettier than his too.

  4. NO pee?
    Good Lord! I was happy if I had a chemo session where I had to pee less than 4 times. (seriously)

  5. Yeah, it was a pretty intense week. And I can now report that spending 15 hours sitting in a chair and not moving is NOT a good thing for your lower back. Susan and I got out for a mellow bike ride this afternoon and that did some good work getting my back uncorked.

    So yeah, I'm enjoying the little victories. Outlasting a 65 year old guy in a peeing contest he doesn't know he's in, riding my bike at a wopping 10 mph (today's average speed), actually sleeping (mostly) through the night. The next big gig starts Monday morning at 9:00 am when I'll start getting the big gun chemo.