This was the week for my 3 month blood work! Super exciting, right? Well not really, but it gives me something to post about this week and gives you a reference to what my numbers are now. So like I’ve said every time before when I’ve done blood work, numbers tend to fluctuate a fair bit during the first 3-6 months, then they tend to stabilize a bit and then at about the 1 year mark everything gets back to normal levels, although for some people it can take up to 2 years. All depends on how your body deals with the whole HSCT procedure and how fast it wants to rebound. So at the 3 month mark I did not do a doctor’s checkup, just blood work. My doctor posted my results in my medical records as soon as he got them and then called to let me know that he felt everything looked good and unless I have something pop up I’ll just see him close to my 6 month mark for a check-up and more blood work. Easy peasy. I was originally planning to get my blood work done last Friday or this Monday, but I happened to be in town last Thursday for some grocery shopping and didn’t want to have to drive all the way back into town on another day just to be stabbed with a needle, so I just opted to get it done that day.
I went to the same location as past blood draws for the procedure, always have the same lady draw my blood and I do have to say I think she is the best person they have for that job, she hits my vein every time, no issues, and never really have any bruising either, amazing. I lucked out and when I got there nobody was in the waiting room so I got in for the needle stabbing after just 5 minutes of waiting. Unfortunately in that time frame several other people came in as well for blood draws, all elderly women, and jesus christ they were bitchy old hags. Seriously all they did was glare at me, and one loudly began telling her husband that it was utterly ridiculous that the young woman got to go in front of her and that she should have went before me. God forbid that I was there first and I have no say on who goes first, the lady calls out a name, you go in, get stabbed, then you are on your way. I got glared at by every single one of those bitchy women when I was leaving too, I just smiled and went on my way, so tempting to flip them off though or tell them to fuck off, but I behaved…. Like always they used tape to keep the gauze in place when I left, which really annoys me, seriously I think they need to spend the money on the stretchy bandage stuff. My arm hair finally managed to regrow there and then it painfully got ripped off again, sigh. But anyways for no apparent reason, here are a couple of pics from my blood drawing experience. My trusty vein hasn’t failed me yet!
But onward to the important information, the actual numbers from my blood work. So this blood work was a bit different from the past. I did the normal 2 blood tests that they normally run and then also a thyroid test. Most doctors feel it is important to test your thyroid levels a couple of times after treatment to ensure things are working correctly because there is a small risk of ending up with thyroid problems after undergoing any type of chemo. The results of my thyroid tests came back in the normal range, so that is good, I didn’t really have any symptoms of thyroid issues but still important to have that checked. I’ll probably have that done again around the 9-12 month mark and if it looks good at that time, I’ll probably stop having that tested unless something seems odd.
But onto my regular blood work. First off lets discuss platelet counts, since mine were super high to begin with, then they dropped because of the blood thinners. My platelet counts are still on the lower end of the normal range, they are currently at 199, 150-420 is the normal range for that. That isn’t surprising as I am taking fish oil and vitamin E supplements to help keep my platelet numbers lower just to hopefully help break up my DVT. So I’m content with that. My hemoglobin and everything else related to my blood is in the normal range so no need to discuss that. So onwards to the important numbers. My total Leukocyte/WBC counts are at 5.1, 3.8-11.0 is the normal range, so they are sitting pretty good right now. Then the most important number that you really have to keep tabs on after HSCT is your Neutrophils. My Neutrophil counts were 3.93, 1.9-8.0 is the normal range for that, so that also is looking pretty good. Then last but not least, the pesky Lymphocytes, this is my one number that has yet to reach normal range and this is the one that often takes a year to get back to normal levels. Right now my Lymphocyte count is 0.61, 1.4-4.8 is the normal range. Now my lymphocyte counts in general pre-HSCT were barely above the lower end of the scale, so I’m not sure how they will eventually end up, will be interesting to see! So that’s that, my 3 month blood work! All in all, not too bad. My numbers are where they are supposed to be. So unless I think something is up and I feel weird, I won’t be doing anymore blood work until November.
And just for fun, since I posted once before about my chemo lines on my fingernails, here’s what they are looking like now. They are slowly growing out. My toenails grew out a long time ago. I have noticed that about 1/2 way between the chemo lines and the base of the nail I do have a distinct ridge on my nails, not sure what is up with that, but no biggie. I’m not a girlie girl so I could care less what my nails look like. But here’s a pic just for fun.
So overall how have I been doing this past week? Well to be quite honest with you, it’s been a down week for me. I haven’t been feeling 100%. Not a whole lot of energy and just tired a lot of the time. The weather hasn’t been too hot, so that isn’t the issue, it’s just overall not feeling the greatest. From what I have gathered from other HSCT veterans, it seems to be quite common to have a down period of time between the 3-4 month mark and then another between the 6-9 month mark. At the start of the week I also was battling insomnia at night and was getting less than an hour of sleep a night, so that could have something to do with that as well. I know for some people that can be caused by the HSCT treatment and often occurs during recovery, not really sure if that is the case for me or not, as I often dealt with that at least once a month after being diagnosed with MS and I know many others with MS often deal with that. The last few nights I’ve been sleeping better, but still struggling more during the day. Then I’ve also been battling muscle tightness in my neck as well as acid reflux, so all in all not a super pleasant week. But recovery is a roller coaster, so you get the ups and downs, right now it’s a down period, perhaps next week it’ll go back up, never really know. On the plus side, hot flashes have been pretty much non-existent, so not all was bad.
As for improvements, really not much this week as it hasn’t been a great week for me. I have noticed that a bit more of my numbness and tingling in my right foot has disappeared. I don’t have much sensation in the foot, but the annoying tingling and numb feeling has gone down, guess I’ll see if that sticks around in the future or improves.
My week wasn’t super exciting, I didn’t have a whole lot of energy to really do anything not related to everyday life. Hoping next week will be better, but I’ll take it as it comes. But on a closing note, here are some more random pictures from my life. A picture of a pregnant praying mantis chilling on my house and a super tiny tomato from a relative’s garden.