Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mick McKellar Update--Day +115

Today started early. I drove my daughter to work and then down to Portage Health for lab tests. I go early for several reasons. First, I fast from about 7:00 PM the night before. Second, I cannot do my blood glucose reading and insulin injection until after the blood draws (which also means no breakfast, etc. until after that). Third, they draw blood to determine the therapeutic level of cyclosporin in my system. That means the test must be done about 12 hours after the last dose and before the current morning dose.  I also learned that you do testing early, if you want to hear from the doctors that day.

Some of the testing is local, but two vials travel to Rochester MN for CMV testing and cyclosporin level testing. I bring a "kit" with me, a box and packaging, vials, etc. sent by Mayo Clinic to me, with instructions for the lab. They send it back to Mayo Clinic.

Good numbers so far...

Nurses from both my local doctor's office and from the transplant center in Rochester called to tell me that the numbers look good. My hemoglobin actually went up, not to normal, but better than last week. My platelets are at 171,000, well into the normal range. My bilirubin is 1.2 (better than last week), and my creatinen is 1.7 (not good, but better than last week). Good Copper Country water may be helping there. This is all positive. However, the report card will come from my doctor in Rochester, and I'll have to wait for that until after the kit is received and further testing done. I'm hoping the numbers are good enough to reduce even further the amount of prednisone I must take each day. Once off the steroids, I'm hoping to get off the insulin injections.


I finished copying the last of the journal entries Day 0 through Day +99 to the archive site. As soon as I have the lead-in text and details done, I will link it to the blog as I did with my poetry site. The archive site is organized by day number and is searchable. If you would like to look around before it is finished, the URL is:

I have enjoyed the marvelous tedium of working on the archive site, because it makes me feel useful,  and gives me a sense of accomplishment outside the realm of simply surviving from day to day.

Simply surviving...

The struggle with leukemia and with the side effects of the transplant tax my energy and sap my strength. Fighting with Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) is an ongoing fact of my life, demanding attention to details and constant watchfulness. Is it paranoia if something really is out to get you? It would be perilous to ignore the protocols, and just plain dumb to break the rules. They keep me alive. The medications I complain about also help keep me alive. God's will grants each new day and allows me to fight along with these tools and the aid of the medical professionals who guide and prescribe.

Although I understand the necessary focus on fighting to survive, I cannot help feeling selfish and self-absorbed. Writers generally maintain a healthy dose of arrogance. You need confidence in yourself and your work to willingly share it with others. However, this goes way beyond that level of self-involvement, drawing on the energy, good will, and resources of both family and friends in ways, and to levels I never thought possible. I have never felt so vulnerable. I have never felt so needy and greedy at the same time.

I have also never felt so loved and cared for. It is humbling and exhilarating at the same time, to have so many praying for my welfare and continued existence. I have never felt so welcome at home. Thank you all.

God bless and good night,


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