Thursday, October 4, 2012

requisite health update

It is probably worth mentioning that the last oncology visit I had left me with news: they are postponing the bone marrow transplant in favor of trying a low-grade chemotherapy to knock back the bad marrow to make room for good marrow to grow, thus boosting my blood cells' overall efficacy. I need my immune system to take care of some of the infectious agents camped out in my system so they are less likely to overwhelm efforts to keep them in-check after my transplant. If my body responds to the chemo drug (60% chance of success), I could be on it indefinitely as long as I keep responding to it. Eventually I will develop a resistance to the drug, at which point we'll have to reassess. The only curative treatment is the BMT, but just because it is curative doesn't minimize the risk of death. That makes the chemo treatment all the more appealing because it will certainly extend the viability of my life through improved immune response and will possibly keep acute leukemia at bay while the medical science surrounding BMTs progresses.

In the meantime, I have had yet another sensitive-area surgery. Like the last surgery, this resulted in excisions and biopsies to determine if I am yet at risk for cancer of the underwear region that have made normal bodily functions excruciating despite the steady stream of oxycodone prescribed to manage the pain. I am high all the time and scared to use the toilet. I also managed to acquire some mysterious cellulitis in my elbow while being stuck in bed. I thought I had strained it by propping myself up too long with the pain medication dulling signals that I had overdone it. Nope, my dang skin is inflamed. No wound or anything to let bacteria in, just an elbow that is stiff, sore and was swollen and red for two days. Now it is still stiff and sore and has limited range, but the swelling and redness has gone almost completely. The ER doctors are treating it like another MRSA infection and I am on antibiotics on top of what I already take.

I recently visited with the Adolescent and Young Adult oncologist to obtain resources offered to cancer patients. I may not technically have a cancer, but everything I go through is similar to being a blood cancer patient. The chemotherapy will eventually help me have more energy than I do now, so I am joining the women with cancer writing group and setting up time to see the physical therapist so I can get my strength up. I may also join the AYA support group, but I promised myself I would go to one meeting and decide after. I'm not much for sitting in a circle and talking about feelings. There are a lot of outdoor- and social programs that start up again in the spring, so I am looking at participating in a few AYA-type surf trips and possibly a meet-up group that sounds way more my speed than a typical support group.

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