Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Clotting Challenges - Health Update

The night before last, I groomed my dog, Tucker. He is a poodle mix so it is necessary to groom and clip him especially when he turns into a puff ball of fur that can no longer see. As I brushed him, I saw a scratch on my arm. No big deal, just a little scratch, not sure how it happened. What was unusual about this little scratch was the bubble of blood it produced. I thought to myself, hummm, I wonder if that means my platelets are really low; little scratches usually clot quickly. I applied some pressure; the bleeding stopped. I found my dog inside that puff ball and didn’t give it another thought.

Yesterday morning I drove to my infusion appointment, went through the maneuvers of checking in, getting my port accessed, and then sitting while waiting to see the Physician’s Assistant I have been seeing a lot of these days. She came in, greeted me and said, “Well, you’re not going to be happy with your platelet count.”

She was right. When a normal number is between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood then my current number of 67,000 is not a good level.

For a while, my platelets have been bouncing between 80,000 and 90,000. In November, they were 70,000. By early December, the number was 75,000. On January 3rd my blood work revealed a small increase to 80,000. These numbers can bounce around even if my blood counts were redone an hour later. Would it bounce up to 90,000? Probably not.

I have had platelet troubles before. In order to improve them, we tried increasing the time between treatments. It worked sometimes, but in the end dose reduction to 80% of full-dose of my current drug treatment--TDM-1-- was the most effective change. When my platelets started to fall again, it was decided that as long as my numbers didn’t drop below 50,000, I could receive treatment.

Yesterday's platelet count was above 50,000 which is within the treatment range, but since there is no protocol to follow for people like me--on this drug almost three years--it was decided in an effort to do no more harm than necessary, it would be better to wait another week before treating. While disappointing, I am okay with the decision. I have been feeling more tired than usual, so maybe one more week might help that too. Next week, I get to do this all over again hopefully leaving with infusion #61 overall and #44 for TDM-1 completed.

In February-- the 20th –scans will be done. Oh the anxiety . . . my nesting instinct has been in full swing, organizing this and moving that just in case my life changes dramatically. The thought of it leaves my stomach tight and internally I feel I might explode.

Until next time . . .

Thanks for checking on me.