9-21-10 Tuesday

Status: 9.0/10.  Long day at Hopkins.  

Events:  Began the evaluation process again. Usual blood drawing, but this time with about a dozen tubes extracted and an estimated 50 cc going to labs all over the hospital.  Then a physical and update with my physician assistant.  I have a consistent team of my oncologist, physician assistant, and oncology nurse. They email and call each other continuously so everyone knows what’s going on.  Got to see my labs, which are great.  My white cells and neutrophils are as good as yours, and my hematocrit and platelet count keep increasing.  Then a CT scan of my chest and sinuses.  Takes about 2 minutes, and I can’t think of a better way to get more radiation per second.

  Then on to my bone marrow biopsy.  There’s space for marrow in most of your bones, but it’s almost always taken from your hip (more precisely from your pelvic bone a few inches on either side of your spine).  You can take it from your sternum, but it’s more hazardous since you may go thru the sternum into your chest.

 I’ve had a half a dozen by now.  The first one was piece of cake, but each subsequent one has been more uncomfortable.  Today’s was a doozy.  They numb the skin and underlying tissue with lidocaine, but ironically the numbing action is one of the most uncomfortable parts of it.  It’s because the person performing the procedure injects a lot of lidocaine very quickly.  And as any good dentist will tell you, if you do it slowly and take your time you get higher marks.  Then they drive a large needle into the pelvic bone and into the bone marrow, followed by aspirating (sucking out) marrow with a large syringe.

  Most folks report the greatest pain when they first pull on the syringe creating a vacuum – a quick twinge.  Today I’d say the pain level was about 9/10, and it continued throughout the entire procedure.  About 10 cc are usually withdrawn, today they took 50 cc and some time to do it.  Left me a little sweaty and a little nauseated.  Not the highlight of my day.

Comments:   Lisa says I’ve been hoarse for a week or so, and I’ve noticed my Eustachian tubes blocked up with everyone sounding like they are under water.  CT scan of my sinuses were normal, and I’m guessing it may be fall allergies – it’s been one of the worst allergy seasons up here.  I usually have to take an anti-histamine only in the spring and never had autumn symptoms before, but I’ll start on an allergy regimen.

 Tomorrow another long day of tests.




5 Responses to “”

  1. Debbie Blum Says:

    So glad to see all those 9’s. Your blog is amazing, especially so with all you have been through.
    On the subject of bone marrow aspirations: I found the lidocaine to be the most painful part, and I always asked for lots of it. My transplant doc personally does the aspirations on her patients; she claims that if you withdraw the marrow very slowly with the syringe, it is not painful–I have found that to be true, a tip I think is worth passing on.
    Keep up the positive attitude and grab all the positive thoughts being sent your way.
    My very best wishes for a Happy New Year.


  2. wendy Says:

    B- sorry I called on a difficult day… I wouldn’t have if I’d realized that – don’t want to disturb your personal and recovery time which is why I always respond on your blog. Figure your time at home is valuable and the fewer interferences the better. I’ll check your blog first before I call again.

    my whole hearted support as always. And to repeat myself -talking it out with an ongoing therapist is highly encouraged…They can come to the home.
    They don’t call us therapist “containers” for nothing. We get to be the keeper of and hold all the venim and stress and anger and fear and sadness etc….so you can release and let go and relax.. and we can help you see hope and a future and aspire towards better days, with option on how to get there, that’s why we get all the BIG bucks (just kidding). Because chronicity is a large part of the issue you are dealing with…it’s a smart man who knows there is a tool belt, it’s a wise man who takes advantage of all the tools in the tool belt. And you are the smartest man I know.. now you’re becoming one of the wisest one….There is a cure and you are on your way..

  3. Jill Stewart Says:

    Ouch! Thinking of you as the process progresses. Warm thoughts and frequent prayers. Love, Jill

  4. Mitzi Krockover Says:

    Hang in there, Bruce. Your courage and strength are incredible. Hope you’re getting some rest today.
    Mitzi and family

  5. ray Says:

    Bruce, we are following you daily and wishing you the best as you enter into this final long stage, hopefully! Your courage, and Lisa’s support are inspiring as well as all of your friends support. Please know you are on our minds and in our hearts.

    Love, Ray, Barbie, Charlie, and Barry

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