Well I’m not quite at my 5 month stem cell birthday yet, but I did have blood work done this past week due to the car accident 2 weeks ago, but it’s close enough to call it the 5 month blood work, technically the 11th is the 5 month mark if you must know exact times. As I mentioned before I did my last blood work at the 3 month mark and wasn’t planning to do it again until I hit the 6 month mark, but because of the car accident and some doctors’ appointments after that to get things checked out, at one point in time they opted to draw blood to ensure that I didn’t have any infections. I’ll discuss all that later, but will start off with the blood work numbers since that seems to be what people care about the most. They opted to do a complete CBC and metabolic panel. So without further ado, here they are:
WBC/Leukocytes: 4.88 (3.8-11.0 is normal range)
RBC: 4.32 (3.50-5.50 is normal range)
Hemoglobin: 13.4 (11.2-15.7 is normal range)
Platelets: 184 (150-420 is normal range)
Neutrophils: 4.07 (1.9-8.0 is normal range)
Lymphocytes: 0.43 (1.4-4.8 is normal)
Terribly exciting I know, especially if you don’t really know what you are looking for. Really the most important numbers are the neutrophils, since you want them to be above 1.9, otherwise you go neutropenic and have to undergo more stimulation injection shots to try to get more stem cells to be produced. Some people really struggle with that number for up to a year or longer and it can cause a lot of issues if that number drops. But for me, that number seems to be hanging constant around the 4.0-5.0 level, which is just slightly lower than what I was pre-HSCT, so I’m happy with that. My lymphocyte numbers dropped from the 3 month mark, they actually aren’t much higher now then they were when I returned home. Which may look bad, but it’s completely normal during recovery, that is the number that can take 1-2 years to get back to normal range. Some people have that number rebound within the first 3-6 months, others take 2 years, just depends on your body. But the number can fluctuate a lot because you have older cells dying off and new ones being produced, so that number really can vary a lot each day, each week, etc. They also ran a metabolic panel on me and all my numbers there looked good as well. Glucose is still on the high-end of the range, which is normal because of all the IV steroids, but I think that number may also have been skewed a bit because I did eat food that was higher in sugar about 2 hours prior to the blood draw, back to my completely failed diet, sigh… And then of course my platelets are on the lower end of the scale, but I am supplementing fish oil and vitamin E every day to help keep my blood thinner because that does help break up blood clots and I am still in the process of getting rid of the partial DVT in my jugular vein.
Oh and for those ladies that are curious, had my period again right on schedule. My body likes to stick with the 28 day schedule. So it appears that even though I was one of the few that was hoping for menopause, my body just says nope you aren’t getting that yet. So it does appear that menopause is a no-go for me. Such is life. This was like one of my regular cycles, no super crazy bleeding or any of that. I’ve seen a few women post about having crazy long super heavy bleeding cycles after HSCT, but for me so far, it’s been about normal.
So overall how was my week? Shitty…. Why lie. Not so much on the HSCT or MS front, but more because of the accident. I started getting whiplash symptoms about a week after the wreck and they got worse before they started to improve. When I initially went to the local Quick/Urgent Care last Wednesday they said I had really stiff neck muscles caused by the whiplash, but they didn’t want to give me muscle relaxers because of the side effects, which I did have bad side effects from Baclofen a few months back, so I agreed with their decisions, because you assume doctors know best. Well come Sunday morning I was miserable, had a horrible night with a killer headache that nothing would help make it go away, severe neck pain, racing heart, and neck veins bulging out of my neck along with feeling very nauseous. So I ended up back in the ER to get checked out because things did not seem normal at all and I knew that is the only place that actually could do the imaging to rule things out. So that is where they did the blood draw via an IV to rule out any infections, then they also opted to do a CT scan on my head as well as C-spine x-rays to see if anything was going on there. Both came back clear, so no bleeding in the brain or anything else bad going on, but the doctor did say that my neck muscles were so incredibly tight and occasionally spasming that it actually showed up on the imaging. So at that time I was diagnosed with severe cervical strain and post concussive syndrome. He gave me a prescription for a different muscle relaxer, Flexeril, to take 3 times a day. Which I started taking immediately and it really has helped. Only downside is that the main side effect is drowsiness and fatigue, which happened to me. Which sucks big time, especially during the day. But after a couple of days my body has gotten used to it, and it isn’t as bad. But it does seem to be helping with the neck muscle tightness and spasticity that is going on there. I also am dealing with that by using heat on that and doing a lot of stretches. Not the most fun to deal with, but such is life. But here’s some pics from that excitement in my life and a pic of what my wrist scars are looking like.
Because of all the drama of dealing with the consequences of the car accident, I really don’t have much to report in the way of side effects or improvements again this week. My bruised sternum is finally starting to feel a bit better and so I am hoping that I can back into exercising again this upcoming week. Then I also am hoping that I feel good enough to get back into actually cooking healthy food again. Now I have done quite well on the meditation front however, I’ve managed to meditate for a bit each night before bed and I managed to get a couple of morning meditations in as well before my kids wake up. I do tend to sleep much better after I meditate in the evening.
So this week consisted of not doing a whole lot. The weather was shitty all weekend long, lots of rain, lots of high wind and then the cold temps to go along with that. The week ended with no rain and not as much wind, but still cold temps that are way below normal. We have a freeze warning in place for tonight so we will see if that happens this next week, it’s about the right time of year to have the first hard freeze of the season. But on the plus side we found out that we have a thriving squash patch in our goat pasture. Apparently when we threw out some of our old squash from last winter, the magpies ate a bunch of the seeds, sat in the trees in our pasture, shit out the seeds, neighbor’s sprinklers watered in the seeds nicely, and now we have a bunch of squash growing in the pasture, quite nice ones as well. So while the squash we actually planted in the garden failed, apparently my goats can grow one hell of a nice squash patch. And contrary to popular belief, goats are actually very picky eaters and so they don’t touch much in the way of actual fruit and veggies, like squash, so that’s why the goats had no interest in them. Goats really prefer to eat weeds like kochia and then leaves off the elm and Russian olive trees. Some pics:
Next week I may discuss the emotional effects of HSCT on the patient themselves and on their families. A facebook friend of mine did a post on her page focusing a bit on this and that later got posted on the Russia HSCT facebook page as well. It’s something that people interested in HSCT often ask about on the groups, but usually don’t get a lot of feedback from HSCT veterans because most veterans aren’t active on that particular group anymore and the reasoning for that I mentioned in a previous blog posted that focused solely on that topic. Basically that will touch on things like anxiety, depression, stress, basically the whole nine yards. Like many people say, the HSCT procedure itself is a piece of cake for most people, it’s the recovery that is the hard part. I also plan at some point in time to do a post focusing on the side effects from the HSCT procedure. While there is a side-effects list that is often posted on the groups, there are many other side effects that are very common that people opt not to post about because they do not want to scare prospective patients away from the treatment, but I however feel that people have a right to know what they might be dealing with after the treatment.
So that’s it for this week, hopefully next week will be less eventful for me and hopefully I can get back to my normal routines. Later this week I also will be scheduling my 6 month MRI to be done in the next couple weeks. It’ll be a little early, but at least then I’ll have the results when I go to my neuro appointment in early November. Not looking forward to it because the machines here are not as high tech as the ones in Russia, so it will be a lot longer time stuck in the machine, I’ll be doing a brain and c-spine MRI.
Here’s a parting shot for this past week of some clouds that produced a large quantity of rain in my local area.