Friday, January 28, 2011

What day are we on? It doesn't matter cuz I'm DONE! :)

Where have you been????

You were wondering, right??  Well, I'm going to tell you where I've been, what I've been doing and every detail about it I can remember.  So, sit back and relax..this may be a long post! :)

So the last time I posted (Monday) I had started my Neupogen shots.  I expected them to be hard...they're the same drug as Neulasta, only a little more intense and shorter lasting.  So I was expected some pretty decent body aches to occur, but I can deal with that.  I was a little concerned Saturday night when Huntsman sent a courier to my mom's house with  a large box FULL of medical supplies (including 6 small vials of neupogen that were to last 2 days-they were sending the rest out later).  So Sunday I wasn't overly surprised when the nurse got to my mom's house and told me she would be giving me 2 (two) shots per day.  Yay me I thought ---not really. 
   So Sunday I got 2 shots of neupogen, and then Monday she had the gall to come back and give me two more.  The nerve! 
     At this point I was definitely feeling achy, but nothing I would call horrible.  Maybe a 6 on the horrific scale.  I was told the only pain meds I could take once I started the neupogen shots was Oxycodone.  Absolutely no Tylenol or Ibuprofen (it somehow messes with the collection process).  So Monday night, as I was feeling a little achy (and brave I might add) decided to take one oxycodone along with my Ambien and get a great nights sleep and get ready for my 3rd day of shots's where everything changed.

I woke up Tuesday and was so sick, I could not get out of bed.  Along with the pain I had been feeling, I had a migraine headache I was completely nauseous my face felt like there was so much pressure it was about to explode.  I figured I had caught some type of bug, since my white blood cells had dropped so low.  I laid in bed ALL DAY.  My brother Justin and his wife Amy came over to check on me and to  let the home health nurse in (yes, I still had to get my 2 shots that day).  I thought I might have had a reaction to the oxycodone.  See..this is why I stick with Ibuprofen-I know what to expect.
  Anyway, I moaned and groaned through that day hoping I would get a good nights sleep and wake up feeling  better.
   When I woke up Wednesday, I felt worse.  I had tossed and turned all night.  It was so painful to move, and when I coughed I thought actual body parts had come off it hurt so bad. 
So I called the PA at Huntsman and told her what was going on.  She said this.......

(Read with enthusiastic voice)
"Yea, people have different reactions to the neupogen.  They are a lot like flu symptoms, but the good news is it means it's probably working!" 

ummmm.  OK.  But I was laying there feeling like I really, really might just die.  And at times thought I would welcome it, just to get a little relief.  Instead, I picked the phone back up and called the PA back.  I told her I was coming up there.  I knew once they saw me they would know how sick I was and want to immediately make me better. 
   When I got up to Huntsman they checked me in and then asked me to sit in the waiting room.  I told them I was too sick to sit....I needed a bed to lay down  RIGHT NOW!  (It was all I could do to ride in reclined car seat for 40 minutes to get there!)  The receptionist jumped out of his chair to go find me a bed to lay down.  (He could obviously see how sick I was).
   The weird thing is, even when they saw me in person, they did not realize how sick I was.  They had me take stuff for nausea, they hooked me up to fluids and let me recline in their chair for a little.  Then they said to go ahead and go home and to come back and 7am for the apheresis catheter surgery (port used for harvesting).  I told them NO.  I'm not going home this sick.  I needed to stay there are be cared for because this was not normal to be so very sick.  They said....

(Same voice as before)
"Yes, this is normal.  But it's a good sign that you're so miserable because you might be able to start collection tomorrow with your body having such a good reaction.  Oh, and we close at 5 so you do have to go home". 

So I left.  Still sick.  But I was starting to feel like I could try to eat something.  So I told my mom I wanted a cheeseburger from Sonic.  She tried to talk me out of it several times  ( "You really don't want a cheeseburger from Sonic.  There's no way that could sound good!)
But somehow, that's exactly what did sound good.  And when you're nauseous it's always best to eat what sounds good to you because then you'll probably hold it down. 
   When we got home I went to lay down.  I was just so worn out from throwing up all the way home.  And the weird thing is, I only got one bite of that cheese burger down.  So here we are...aalmost caught up.  I'm literally on deaths door.  Let me just add, I've been through a thing or two the last few months, so when I say I was sick, I mean it.  I'm emphasizing this for 2 main reasons:
1) If someone comes across my blog and they're are about to go through this type of thing, I don't want them to be surprised, and
2) for your sympathy!  (mostly this)

So now, Thursday morning.  We got to Huntsman at 7am for labs.   While I was having the labs drawn my mom just kept telling the nurse..."  Can you believe she wanted to stay here for the night, and then can you believe she wanted a Sonic Cheeseburger."  Well, while they were chatting it up like long lost friends from high school, do you know what I was doing??  Throwing up.  oh, and having blood drawn. 

Next I was off the have an x-ray and CT of my face because I think I had convinced them that my face was going to explode  (those came back fine somehow.  They did show some congestion.  They suggested a netty pot.  I was're kidding, right?) 

Then I was off to Radiology to have my apheresis catheter put in.  At first I dreaded this part, but by this point, I COULD NOT WAIT to get under that conscience sedation.  I quickly made friends with the nurse that would be administering them.  I told her to put as much as she needed in my IV so I could go to sleep and get some good , good rest.  She just laughed.  But she must've done it because I woke up 3 minutes later and they were done.  My mom came into recovery and said it took 2 hours (what??) and there was great news.  My labs were back, and  hey would start to harvest that day!

Harvest day, Hooray! 
So, next I go back up to BMT infusion room.  And this was the process:

I laid in a bed (and fell asleep).  While I was asleep a stem cell technician named  T hooked me up to this machine called apheresis machine which would circulate all of the blood in my body about 4 times.  While it was circulating it would spin the blood and separate and extract all the stem cells (which is the red liquid collected in that IV bag).   Do you see how T is smiling in that picture??  She said it was because she saw how sick I was and thought I would be able to collect a lot of stem cells in one day.  Possible meeting my goal of 5 million and then be one day.  I wasn't smiling at this point because I was asleep.

This is what the end of day one looked like:
my very own cute stem cells

Later that night T called from the lab and said we only hit about 3 1/2 million.  But I was fine with going back because I had slept most of that day away, and I was starting to feel a little bit better by this point.

So day 2 of collection (today) I went back up at 7am.  I started collection again, only today I was awake the whole time.  I was able to get to know my nurse better (nurse extraordinaire) and my stem cell technicians were A and A  (we called him Oscar all day, just for fun). 
By, the end of the day I had collected enough stem cells to be done. 
Total stem cell collection for 2 days
bdbdbdbdbdbdbdbbdbdbdb  (drum roll)
8.3 Million
ummm yea.  I hit the goal, and then went a little over cuz that's how I roll!

Those little stem cells are in a nitrogen freezer at about -150 degrees and will be stored indefinitely.  And the truth is....I hope I never need them! 

Here's some pics.  (I've withheld real names for their privacy) This is just a few of the wonderful people that took care of me over the last few weeks.
K.   Driver, Hostess, Cook, Cleaning lady, Care taker, etc.  (also known by me as MOM)

A- the Supervisor, and A the Newbie (he's the one we called Oscar)

E.  Nurse Extraordinaire.  She needs a raise -Stat!

A.  The best MA
(Who were you again?)

My family is driving down tomorrow.
I'm so excited to see them!   ~♥

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jen! When you didn't post all week, I was worried you were suffering. Guess that's putting it mildly!! I'm so sorry! I will be so grateful when this is over for you!!!