Friday, June 8, 2007

Thank Your White Blood Cells

Thank you everyone who's written and emailed (and commented here) - it helps, really. I'm sorry that we can't visit with you all in person. I'd love to throw a party and have everyone over, but we have to to seriously limit visitors. Dave has almost no functioning immune system. He is taking quite a few antibiotics and anti-virals, but they're no substitute for a healthy batch of white blood cells (remember to thank your white blood cells tonight.) We have invested in tons of hand sanitizers (found a great natural one: CleanWell.)

Then there's the low level of red blood cells, which makes him tire easily, and the low platelets which makes him bleed/bruise easily, and you can see why I get nervous when he leaves the house each day. According to the Neutropenic Diet (and the nutritionist at Kaiser concurs) eating anywhere outside of your own home is a high risk activity. But Dave feels like, "Why live in San Francisco, if you can't eat out?"

I'm slowly learning more about leukemia and the many different types and treatments, etc. It's a steep learning curve for me. Partly, I guess because I've been away from nursing for so long, partly because I haven't had much time to "study." There's always too much to do around here. I'm just now getting ready to get back into painting. Today I was planning to prepare another panel for my next painting. We'll see if it gets done . . .

Dave is doing OK. Not as good as I'd hoped, not as bad as I'd feared. In spite of a decent appetite, he's still losing weight . . . not that he can't spare a few pounds, but it's an ominous sign that worries me. Very soon we will have to replace his entire wardrobe, or at least get all his slacks taken in. (Anybody know of a good place to do that?) He has developed strange lesions on his face - sort of, but not quite, like nodular acne. Some look like burns. He's getting unusual aches and pains that might be lymph node enlargements. He thinks the pains are muscle pulls, from riding MUNI - not a very comforting thought, to me. He's back at work, but doing short days - he doesn't have the stamina to go more than 5 to 7 hours. The night sweats continue, in milder form - his temperature is slowly climbing, but he's not febrile yet.

We have almost finished all the household modifications that we started right after the diagnosis. The bedroom is upstairs near the bathroom; the studio is downstairs; there's an extra guest-sleeping-area in the basement. The main thing left is assembling the weight machine that Susan got when she was down here last time - we're planning to do that this weekend. Then Dave can work on rebuilding muscle mass, when he has the energy for it.

5 comments:

ramona soto said...

I realize everything is so exhausting.... hugs to both of you!

tami said...

hi,

still sending you both, good thoughts and prayers.

sundown cleaners in the sunset is great for alterations and i've found, the most reasonable in the neighborhood.

Janet and Stu said...

We completely understand the need to protect Dave, and for both of you to conserve energy.
We think of you often throughout our days, in the evening our conversation turns to you. Know that we are ever but a phone call away.
Hugs

John Paul Turnage said...

Anna, thank you for keeping us up to date. It's funny, I start to write, then reach for something useful to say -- there's nothing on that shelf! Remember that we are close by and will be glad to help out any way we can.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, Keep a look out on the front door step! Wish we were all at Wallgreens together...
susan