Back to Business

Alright. Tuesday morning I’m excited to get my treatment started, the doctors decided to wait one more day to let my liver enzyme numbers drop a little more. Some of the medications I’d been on can cause your liver to go haywire and I need mine in tip top shape to process all the chemotherapy i’m about the throw at it. Not 15 minutes after I wake up I have my morning vitals taken and I had a temperature of 100.6 … the cutoff for a low grade fever on this ward is 100.4 – So no treatment for at least two more days. I rock.

When you get a fever, even a low grade one, it sets of all these alarm bells and they start taking more blood (from different and interesting places) and shipping you off around the hospital for scans and tests. A well placed infection that isnt caught early will kill me, so its not entirely unwelcome. I was also complaining about my perma-headache at this point so they wanted to make sure the two weren’t related. A brain/spinal infection would be seriously bad news all on its own, but especially before I begin central nervous system chemotherapy. Just terrible timing. Luckily enough by that afternoon my temperature had dissipated, all my blood and tests had/have come back without any issues and it just wasn’t all that much of a fever in the first place.

One of the tests I got was a spinal tap (big old needle in the spine) so they could check my cerebral spinal fluid for any infection. It was fairly uneventful except for the part where they stabbed me in the spine – but all went well and I went a few hours without any complications or post-op issues. I’m sitting on the edge of my hospital bed discussing this with my parents, when they get up to leave, I go to stand up and say goodbye. Before my feet even hit the floor I feel a sharp pain right in the middle of my spine and freeze up, any movement in any direction produces the most unbelievable pain in different parts of my spine. I spent the rest of the night begging for painkillers and by 1am or so I’ve got another standing order for IV morphine whenever I need it.

Now it’s Wednesday morning and I’ve got no fever and my liver is happy as a clam – but now they won’t start treatment because I’ve got two extremely painful conditions completely encompassing the treatment area of my brain and spine and no reasonable explanation for either condition. They don’t want to beat me up with chemotherapy when i’m already hobbled and since we don’t know what’s causing any of these issues they don’t want the treatment to exacerbate my pain. totally reasonable (I’m all about not hurting Austin any more then is absolutely necessary) but at the same time frustrating, right now i’ll hopefully start this round of chemotherapy 6 days after originally planned. It seems the hospital is unwilling to let go of me just yet.

Today my back feels a little better, It still hurts to move so i’m still stuck in bed all day. With the right amount of morphine I’ve been able to go to the bathroom and take a shower without any help so at least I’m accomplishing the basics. for some reason any weight on my left heel causes me a lot of pain so now I’m a cancer patient with a limp – It’d be funny if I wasn’t in such a horrible mood. Being in pain like this doesn’t go a long way to promoting a positive attitude and good will towards others.

My headache just sucks and doesn’t respond to any painkillers, after a thorough neurology consult today it’s pretty clear no one has any idea whats going on with my head. I’ve got a progressively worsening constant headache which no one can diagnose. This worries me. So far the only thing that helps at all is laying completely flat for an extended period of time. There’s not a whole lot you can do laying flat on your back. I have my laptop contorted in interesting ways just so I can write this without my head throbbing the whole time.

So that’s most of the madness thats kept me occupied over today and yesterday. Barely even anything cancer related, It’s kind of a joke that this stuff is holding up my treatment. I’m coming to terms with the fact that my cancer is simply unconcerned with the fact that I have a schedule to keep, the delay this time around isn’t nearly as frustrating as the ones I experienced earlier during the induction phase. Stuff like this is only going to keep happening as I move through treatment so I can either let it kill me slowly from the inside out or try and live in the moment and roll with the punches.

On a lighter note – my humble blog is currently the 21st result when searching for “Leukemia Blog” on Google! Top of the third page baby! For anyone at JAZD who may read this, take note, I’m apparently an SEO god and will be happy to bestow my teachings upon you on my return 🙂 It doesnt look like i’ve gotten more then 6 click throughs from search engines to date but how often do you get to the third page of results on Google? Never. So i’m still hunting that elusive front page but i’m amazed at how high the site is ranked already. I suppose those two words (‘leukemia’ ‘blog’) are carpet bombed all over this site but i’m still impressed Google is all over it, perhaps it’s the relatively constant original content – and all my fantastic readers! Any links you can drop to the blog on Facebook or other sites would be greatly appreciated.

When I was admitted to the HEMONC unit one of the first things I did was have my brother pick up my laptop for me, I’d be utterly lost in here without it. Normally my life is split between two internet connections: A) My 3mbps up / 15 mbps down Comcast (I loathe them) connection at home and 2) a top-of-the-line Verizon FIOS 20mbps up / 20mbps down connection at work. Now because of these fairly robust connections I’ve come to expect a certain amount of bandwidth to burn, I’ve also gotten into the habit of running a handful of seriously network intensive applications without giving it much thought. Being in the hospital i’m relegated to a guest network (ugh..) which is some form of blasphemy for someone with the geek needs I have.

For the first few days it wasn’t a problem and I was able to pull down a good 4mbps at times, plenty to do anything I want. after the first week I believe some automated traffic shaping kicked in to deal with the fact that a single client (me) was tanking the entire network on a regular basis to run torrents and download tv shows, movies, etc.. and it cut down my share of the network to an average of about 400kbps. using a connection that slow is like drowning. when I was discharged I dropped off the network for about 6 days and when I was re-admitted I’m now on the other side of the ward and connecting to a different access point. I learned my lesson the first time and have changed my behavior as not to trigger any mom-bot traffic shaping. My average over the last three days (it’s like being born again!):

“You see a man’s face
you will never know his thoughts”

Artist: Massive Attack
Album: Mezzanine
Song: Exchange

– Austin

    • Mimi
    • February 11th, 2010 8:46pm

    Hey, I could use an SEO god at Create the Good. Let me know when you’re ready. 🙂

    • Jenna
    • February 12th, 2010 11:24am

    You were on page two of google when I searched for you- moving on up!

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