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Courtney

Courtney
taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 92 - Lucky Number 8

Clinic Visit - March 13, 2008 (Late Post)

Did I say I could handle traditional blood draws? No problem? Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Today’s clinic visit started at the lab to have my blood drawn by a phlebotomist (yea me, no neostar!). I gave him a fair warning that I have bad veins—they like to move and roll. I am generally mentally prepared to be stuck by a needle at least three times before a successful blood draw. And, at 9:20 in the morning, these guys are ready to go- very friendly, easy going and confident. Which is always a good sign.

In the end, and 8 stab wounds later, these guys were still very friendly, but they were very apologetic and their confidence was somewhat shaken. I had to keep reassuring them that I was alright and that they could try again. After the second attempt, they had almost been successful, collecting 4 of the 12 tubes needed before the vein collapsed. Then came attempts 3 thru 8, with 8 being successful. I think they took a few extra tubes for good measure!

Finally, after a successful blood collection, I went upstairs to have a chest x-ray done. I was in and out pretty quickly. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but I get a monthly chest x-ray as standard post-transplant protocol. As always, initial indications are that my lungs look clear.

My vitals are improving with each visit. My blood pressure is in normal range and Dr.V has taken me of Atenolol (beta-blocker-the medication that contributed to my bouts of fatigue)and reduced the dosage of Norvasc (hypertension medication.) It’s always nice being taken off a medication. Unfortunately, as one medication was taken away, another was added.

The past week and a half, I’ve been feeling slightly nauseous – like butterflies taking flight in my stomach from time to time – and having some other GI discomforts. Dr. V. was concerned that this may be a mild flare-up of GVHD, so she prescribed a ‘topical’ steroid, Entocort, for the GI tract. It’s not what you normally would think of as ‘topical,’ but apparently it’s only meant to treat the lining of my GI tract and not to be absorbed into the blood stream. Hopefully, that means much fewer side effects than the steroid prednisone.

Dr. V is still very pleased with my progress and said that my labs looked good. She pointed out the increase in my RBC production and told us the Aranesp was doing its job. She will give me another injection on the 20th.

Next week is full of tests. I will have follow-up tests that will compare heart (MUGA) and lung (Pulmonary) functions to my pre-transplant condition. The big day is Thursday, 20th, when I will have a bone marrow biopsy.

5 comments:

Kunal said...

Sari and I will be thinking of you for a "flying colors" BMB! :)

Warm hugs,
Kunal

Amy said...

8 sticks....so sorry! that can be so painful and leave you with one too many bruises. I love clebrating getting off meds. Hope those little butterflies leave your stomach soon. I keep you in my prayers every day! Hope to talk to you soon.

Lynette said...

Just a thought from a former phlebotomist, you might try drinking LOTS of water an hour or so before they draw blood. It can help. Many patients are just too dehydrated to get good sticks. We are so happy for your progress and look forward to a normal life for you and your family in the near future.

crys said...

Hopefully soon you can go to finger sticks when they don't need so much blood. YEAH for clear tests so far and less meds. That is great. I hope that your GI stuff clears up (there is nothing more annoying in my opinion) and that the 20th goes well. We will say prayers for you.

Meredith said...

Sounds like good news, except the 8 sticks, but glad the vampires got what they needed! :) I'm suddenly grateful for only needing 3 tubes drawn every 4-6 weeks when I'm on my meds; your 12 puts that to shame!!!! Hope your biopsy went well yesterday and hope to see you soon! :)

 

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