Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Digging for Bone Marrow

Monday was the day for the bone marrow biopsy, to be conducted by none other than Dr. Rifkin himself. It's usually done by a medical technician. I'm not sure why I got such special attention. Having been through a biopsy without anesthesia, of course I requested it (IV fentanyl and verced). Then, I forgot that I wasn't supposed to eat for 6 hours before the procedure. Not wanting to vomit all over the examining room, I confessed my sin and was promptly told that there would be no sedation given. All I would get would be an ativan to relax me. Ativan is not a pain killer. So be it. I could've rescheduled, but I want to know what's going on in my bone marrow and I knew the pain would be temporary. Rifkin was quite good at the procedure, i.e., it didn't hurt that much, even though he had great difficulty getting a core of the hip bone as it is too soft from all the treatment I've received. My ability to withstand the procedure without anesthesia is either due to the 12 bone marrows that I had down in Arkansas that prepped me for this experience, Dr. Rifkin's good steady hands, or the fact that my nerves are shot and I can't feel anything anymore. We'll get the results next Monday.

Otherwise not much has changed in my blood work. I can't seem to generate either white cells or red cells on a consistent basis. I'm hoping the bone marrow biopsy will shed some light on the cause of this problem, but I'm not sure it will. It may just be a matter of time.

Otherwise things are pretty slow around here. I spend too much time at doctor's offices. I am noticing a return of some energy which is encouraging. You all know the drill: slam me to the floor with chemo, watch me struggle to get upright, regain some weight and muscle and start feeling better, then slam me with more chemo. I certainly prefer to be in the strength gathering and weight gaining phase, which is where I am now. I try not to think about what's coming. One can actually paste together a life while riding this roller coaster, albeit not too active, but nonetheless a life, as long as one keeps his eyes looking upward. Speaking of which, I must emphasize again how much I am enjoying being back in Colorado. The summer weather here is so temperate and beautiful. And the skies are always a deep blue with a few scattered clouds (except for the afternoon shower). Every day I am thankful to be back home. Why, I hardly think about Arkansas anymore (and that's a very good thing).

My best to all.


Nick said...

Dan -

Another sleepless night here in ol' 300 E. Third, despite Ambien and thalidomide. Might have something to do with the man-purse of poison I've got slung over my shoulder 24/7. :)

Good to hear that your spirits are high and that you are in the strength-building phase. I've put all that off until I'm finished with the initial bumps on the roller coaster since I've got involvement in 16 vertebrae and I'm uncertain as to how soon is too soon to do much other than walking, which as any good Angeleno will tell you is anathema. :)

You and your family are never far from our thoughts and we miss the commiseration, but I'm glad you are finding psychological strength from being back home amongst friends. It was good to be back in LA for a few weeks, although I experienced reverse culture-shock...there were so many damn people!!! I couldn't believe how many people I had to weave in and out of at the grocery store!

I feel your pain (literally) on all the bone marrows. I told my original hematologist in LA, to whom I went for labs while recuperating from the last transplant, that I'd had six bone marrows and if he'd had a drink in his hand we would have done a "spit take" worthy of a 1960s comedian. Oh well. I signed up for overkill on purpose and that's what I'm getting.

I hope your marrow comes back with valuable information and resoundingly upbeat news, and that you continue to find strength, solace and recovery in Colorado.

Love to you all,

Nick and Jill

Brett said...

You truly are a warrior, Dan. I know you would never use this word to self-describe, but it's true. Your strength, humility and integrity help to ground and direct us all in our own lives. Peace, my friend.