I am planning to write-up my much longer 1 year post-HSCT follow-up post in the next week, although bear with me if it takes longer than that to accomplish. All sorts of things have been happening this past week around here and this next week will most likely be just as crazy, especially at work with this being Memorial Day Weekend here in the US. Memorial Day is another baffling holiday really. It’s meant to honor those who were killed defending this country, and what do people do, celebrate by having a giant BBQ and many go camping. Seems twisted, but people don’t care about the reason for the holiday, they just like a 3 day weekend from work and school… Seems fitting given the state of society right now.
But onto my blood work. So I had originally planned to do this closer to May 11th, my actual stem cell birthday, but again life got in the way. I kept planning to try to get it done before work and then I never managed to get there in time to have it done and then last week I was on my period and that really messes with my platelet counts, so I wanted to wait until several days after that to actually have it done. Which put me to Wednesday May 24th. I headed into work a bit early that day to hit the hospital to have the blood draw, prior to them closing for lunch. I normally go to another hospital clinic to have the blood draw done, but the hospital itself was more convenient this time, so went there instead. Normally there are lines and you wait forever there, but amazingly I got in right away, their updated computer system makes the check-in process much easier. Then I got called back right away. Lady managed to hit my vein first time, drew 3 tubes of blood and then I was on my way. Literally from leaving my car to head inside to leaving the parking lot was around 5 minutes, crazy fast. Can’t complain. And even more shocking, for once they did not use the godawful sticky tape that rips off all my arm hair, I actually had the stretchy stuff!!!! No pain on removal, can’t complain.
So even more amazing was the fact that my results literally posted in under 4 hours, I was reading over them when I was on lunch. My doctor felt my numbers were all pretty good, minus my lower white blood cell count still. So I probably will follow-up with more blood work in another 3 months if he feels it is necessary. So just for the hell of it, a couple of pics from that experience.
But down to the numbers. So as I’ve said every time I’ve posted numbers, they vary a lot person to person, and they will fluctuate a lot over the first 2 years you are home. While some counts look amazing one blood draw, the next they may be horrible, it’s a vicious cycle as your body recovers from the hell you put it through. So my numbers are similar to other veterans and different from others. So this time around I did a full thyroid panel, which isn’t required, but thyroid issues run rampant in those with autoimmune disease, you have 1 autoimmune disease, your odds of having others is very high, many people have 2, 3 or even 4 different diseases. Even though HSCT will wipe out the MS or whatever disease you may have, still doesn’t mean you won’t get others. But in general chemo also fucks with your body and messes with everything and often messes with the thyroid gland. It’s fairly common for those who had HSCT to end up with thyroid issues afterwards, for some it’s temporary while the body recovers, for others it is lifelong. Many people say in recovery if you somewhat crash and feel like shit with tons of old symptoms popping up, to get a complete thyroid panel, because often low or high numbers are actually causing that to happen, and with medication it makes you feel normal again. My numbers for that are all in the normal range, my TSH level itself has always been on the lower end of normal, and this time it was a bit lower than it was pre-MS and at my 3 month post-HSCT. So nothing to be concerned about at the moment, but it is something I will probably have checked again sometime in the future, especially if I ever felt any signs of it being out of whack.
I also had a metabolic panel done, which basically tests for a lot of the components of the blood. All of that was in the normal range again, so in the future I probably will not have that test done anymore
Now for the important numbers which are obtained doing a CBC (complete blood count). I will compare to the last blood work, 2-3 months ago, and discuss in more details after.
WBC: 3.45 (3.8-11.0 is normal range)
RBC: 4.35 (3.5-5.5 is normal range)
Hemoglobin: 13.7 (11.2-15.7 is normal range)
Platelets: 163 (150-420 is normal range)
Neutrophils: 2.37 (1.9-8.0 is normal range)
Lymphocytes: 0.78 (1.4-4.8 is normal range)
So compared to my last blood work 2-3 months ago my WBC counts did drop slightly, they were 3.5 last time, they are 3.45 now. RBC was 4.35 this time and 4.25 last time, so up slightly. Hemoglobin is 13.7 this time and 13.1 last time, so up slightly as well. Then my platelets now are back in normal range at 163, they were 142 last time. Neutrophils are actually up this time at 2.37 compared to 2.21 last time. And then finally lymphocytes are down slightly at 0.78 compared to 0.81 last time.
So what’s that mean? Normal recovery with its fluctuating numbers! So my platelets are still on the lower end of normal, but I have mentioned in the past that my platelet counts have always been on the lower end of normal, even pre-MS. I have always bruised easily throughout life. But this time at least they are back in the normal range. Neutrophils are up a bit this time around which is a good thing, those are the numbers you really have to watch, as it is important to stay above 1.9, as below that you are neutropenic, which is not good, means you need to take a lot more precautions. As you can see my WBC counts dropped a bit and are below normal. This is common during recovery and not really a big deal, but it is something that I probably will monitor a bit more over the next year, just to ensure they do rise up to normal levels eventually. WBC counts are another number that pre-MS I have always been on the low-end of the normal range. Lymphocyte counts also dropped slightly, and while not considered in the normal range for my testing lab, they are in the normal range for other labs, so I consider that to be back in the normal range. Now I didn’t post percentages of the different blood components, but everything including lymphocytes are in the normal percentages, so that is at least a good thing.
So all in all, things are about where they should be. I will probably at least have a CBC done in another 3 months to monitor my WBC, even though I really hate blood draws. When I do my much longer 1 year write-up I will do my big chart again which compared all my blood work from pre-MS, through treatment and then through recovery.