Wednesday, November 28, 2007

11/28/07 - Effects of Low Platelets

This is a post that I've been thinking about doing for a few months now. I've already edited some photos. More to come...

*** UPDATE 01/08/08 ***

Platelets are mostly responsible for blood clotting, and when they are low, there are multiple related effects. I'll go through a few I have experienced.

Excessive Bleeding - When my platelets are low, I'm not supposed to do anything that could result in my being cut. I'm not supposed to ride my recumbent trike, shave with a razor (unless it's electric), handle knives, or the like. I obey some of them... Most of the time, I "notice" my platelets are low when my cat scratches me. When he scratches me (due to my taunting and magnified by my slow response), the resulting cuts bleed for a while and my blood looks "funny." That's very non-technical, but I swear my blood looks different when my platelets are low.

My hand, bleeding from a "Karl Puncture."

Easy Bruising - Bruises seem to just appear when my platelets are low. I can remember the causes of the larger ones, but I don't track the smaller ones, probably because they don't hurt when they begin. For instance, a bruise formed when I ripped the tape off a blood count access. I was surprised at how bad it looked, but it did not hurt. Here are a few examples.

A large bruise, on me bum (in a British accent).

My arm, bruised by an Arinesp injection.

My arm, bruised by removing the tape over a blood draw.

Petechia - "Pe-teek-kee-yah" can be caused by low platelets. I've only experienced it once that I know about. To an observer, it just looks line red spots on your skin. I think it is from breaks on small capillaries. When I experienced it, it was only on my left hand, it didn't hurt, and I suspect the cause was sleeping strangely on my hand. I tried to take a picture, but the red spots don't seem to come out that well...

My hand, with Petechia.

Broken Toe - This was certainly not caused by low platelets, but the bruising that followed may have been. I broke it when walking from the second floor to the first floor of our house. The power happened to shut off when I was about 2/3 of the way down. I missed the last stair and landed awkwardly on my foot. I can only assume it was broken because it hurt for more than two weeks, but I didn't want to see another doctor about it. It's kind of amazing that this took so long to happen, because I'm constantly running into (kicking) things.

My feet, showing my bruised "broken" toe.

11/28/07 - Transfusion IV

This post will be about transfusion #4. It was uneventful, and I am fine. More to come...

*** UPDATE 01/08/08 ***

Wow, I didn't expect so much time to go by... Anyhow, here's a quick update. Transfusion #4 was just platelets. There are drugs that can boost my other blood counts, which I'm now receiving. There is nothing available to make platelets higher, just a transfusion.

As mentioned earlier, the transfusion went well. And the drugs (a subject of a future post) kept my other counts up.

11/24/07 - Fishing

My dad, brother, and I went trolling for some fish last Saturday. I drove the boat (slowly) and took movies and photos. We caught only Spanish Mackerel. Scott caught the most fish, and he seemed to enjoy it. He was lucky I wasn't fishing...

Our GPS path. We trolled off Honeymoon Island.

Believe it or not, it does get cold (sometimes) in Florida. Luckily, Saturday was a nice day, clear and probably in the low 80s. I was surprised at how warm it was on the boat. If anyone is keeping track, the Gulf temp was around 69 degrees.

Bud driving the boat.

As I mentioned earlier, Scott did catch the most fish, and the largest ones. Back at the dock, my dad cleaned them all, and I took the pictures below.

Scott's largest fish.

To kill some time while the fish were being cleaned, Scott was trying to get some of the birds that gathered to bite his finger. They obliged multiple times. He made some noises when they bit or pecked at him. We had a fish dinner that night...

Scott and a vicious bird.

11/22/07 - Thanksgiving

I used to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, but my dad's girlfriend, Karen, has been doing it the last two years. Laura has also been preparing some side dishes to help Karen out. We've also been having the actual dinner at my father's place. Luckily, it's very close, so he usually comes up to snack and watch football prior to dinner.

Scott being attacked by swiss cheese.

One of the dishes we always have is a green bean casserole that has sour cream and swiss cheese in it. Laura has made it the last two years. The thing about this dish is if anyone falls asleep prior to it's being made, which is inevitable, they get their picture taken with a block of swiss cheese, usually in their face. This year, Scott fell asleep. I suppose he was tired because he drove up Thanksgiving morning. He and Laura have other plenty of other pictures with the swiss cheese...

Thanksgiving dinner.

So, the dinner was very good, as was the company. We ate a little less than usual (probably not Scott) because we ate crackers, cheese, and summer sausage while hanging-out before dinner. I took the picture below prior to us eating, funny how I cut myself off in the photo...

11/20/07 - Medical Update

I'm posting this on the 28th, even though I dated the title the 20th. I wanted to fill some comments in...

The day after chemo, on Sunday, November 4th, I received an injection of Neulasta to increase my white blood cell count. It should ultimately prevent or delay a low white blood cell (WBC) count, where I have a weakened immune system and have to take antibiotics... There is no WBC transfusion.

I went to my PCP on the 19th, and he drew some blood and spoke to me about my high cholesterol. I haven't been taking any cholesterol medication since October 22nd, and my levels have been climbing. I changed my diet a little, but to no avail. This whole thing started because my oncologist noticed that liver counts were high... The cholesterol medication I was taking at the time (Zocor) was supposedly the culprit, and that's why I was told to stop taking it on October 22nd.

So, now I find myself with high cholesterol as well as being treated for a brain tumor. The high cholesterol has been a diversion I want to drop, but it's at a level that I'll have to deal with it. Ho hum...

As of November 20th, my WBC counts were still high enough to not require any action.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

11/27/07 - Generic Update

Just a quick update... Yeah, I know I haven't posted in a while, but I should have a few updates in the next 24 hours. For now, I feel fine, but tired. My blood counts are headed downward. In fact, I'm going for a platelet transfusion at 2:00PM today. Expect a few updates...