Day +195 & +196, Monday & Tuesday

Photo of the Day (Monday): Pile of cats. And Sally. And me. The cats won. Cats.
Photo of the Day (Tuesday): Huzzah!!! Excited to welcome my folks!! Cheers & Mazel!

So far, this week has started off great, and I call that a win. Monday involved an early morning on my end, as I hit the 7 am HEW (Hard Exercise Works) class, and then had 3 various appointments scattered throughout the day, including a meeting with the NIH, an OBGYN appointment, and a talk with my therapist. Due to an emergency (on their end, not mine), the NIH appointment was pushed back, but everything else was OK. I was happy to even sneak in a 5-mile hike at Bent Creek.

My OBGYN appointment went surprisingly well. At +6 months, post-transplant, my body is doing what it can to repair all tissues. I was originally scheduled for a Colposcopy (in-depth examination of the cervix, including a possibly biopsy), after (yet another) abnormal PAP smear last month (test for cervical cancer). I’ve had abnormal PAP’s for the past – oh gosh – 20 years of my life. And I’m 40. My understanding is that many women/girls with GATA2 have similar struggles, including abnormal cell grown on their cervix. I’ve had several Colposcopies in my life, and was scheduled for a LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) before my transplant, but my NIH Team wanted me to hold off, on the hope that my post-transplant body could eradicate the precancerous/abnormal cell growths. So that didn’t happen – but I continued to have abnormal PAP results up to and even after my transplant.

Table of fun.

So there I was, feet-in-stirrups, chatting with my OBGYN and nurse about various transplant-related things – mucositis, chemo, hair styles etc – when she suddenly said, I’m not seeing any spots, or really anything that I could even biopsy… All chatter stopped. I lifted my head and looked at her and then up at my nurse, puzzled.

“So, there’s nothing there?” I asked.

Dr. A. nodded.

And then I mused aloud, talking my way through another weird transplant/chemo related scenario. It would stand to reason that if the super aggressive chemo killed all the warts on my feet – couldn’t it have done the same to other abnormal cells within my body? It’s just a theory that I have, but I’ve often thought of my feet as being a litmus to how the rest of my body is doing. Pre-transplant, my immune system just couldn’t handle the wart infections on my feet – didn’t recognize them, couldn’t fight them off – and it was the same for other infections (viral, fungal & bacterial). My aggressive chemo regimen effectively killed off the warts, and now my very new immune system is working to take care of the few that have returned. It makes me think that internally – as with my cervix – this is possible.

There’s no way of knowing, for sure, my Dr. A was a good sport in listening and talking through the scenario. She commented a bit more about mucocitis, and how it can affect the vaginal canal and cervix. I had never thought about that, but it stands to reason given all of the mucous membranes in that area. It’s something to watch and be aware of – I will follow up with her for another PAP in 6 months.

Monday night went as many other Monday nights have – I played two games of pool, I lost two games of pool. But they were both close and that’s cool. I recognize that I’ll never be a great player and that’s OK – it was fun to see a few friends and spend time out of the house. I will say – my 9-ball match was very close – when I asked Melissa the score, she just shook her head and covered the sheet. Later, I learned we were tied and both needed 2 balls (points) to win. Oh well – I took the losses well, recognizing I faced tough opponents in both matches.

Que sera, sera.

Tuesday was busy, a flurry of activity before my parents’ arrival. I had another HEW workout, followed by a 30-minute wait for gas. Yes, I contributed to the hysteria, I’m sad to say. I did think about topping off my tank over the weekend, but at that point, I did NOT want to contribute to a shortage. However while waiting in in line, I reasoned that a year ago, people couldn’t even control themselves around toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and that threats of a gas shortage would be worse.

I was fortunate.

Thankfully, when I got home, the kitties were doing their thing. They always make me smile. Cats.

WB & Monster in the back. Cats.

Then it was off to my weekly hematology appointment. I’m disappointed to say that eating a banana every day for the past week actually DID improve my potassium. My number was up from 3.3 to a very healthy 3.9. Humbug. The test worked, oh well. I’m happy to say that ALL my blood counts looked good and were either at normal, or just slightly below, with my WBC at 3.9, Hemaglobin at 10.8, ANC slightly low at 1487, and platelets hovering a tad below 100. Even better, my Creatinine remained a normal 0.9, and my kidneys are happy with the result. So – the banana it is. Even Dr. W laughed and was happy about my counts. The one abnormal result was a high positive for Epstein-Barr Virus, a type of herpes virus that can lead to Mononucleosis (which I’ve had before). Thankfully, I’m not on immune suppressive medications and I’m not taking steroids; if this is actually a true positive, the hope is that my new immune system will take care of the infection. In the interim, I didn’t exhibit any of the classic symptoms of swollen lymph nodes, and my night sweats could also be hormone related (and occurred pre-transplant). We’ll monitor for another week and adjust our plan – which right now is to wait and see – should I become sick.

Post-appointment, I met Andy and home and we went to the airport to pick up my parents! I was SO HAPPY to see them!

Andy driving and Dad in the front seat, leaving Asheville Regional Airport

Connecting with my folks was wonderful, and I felt really emotional seeing my 80-year old Dad, whom I hadn’t seen since before my transplant. I was grateful to hug both my parents. Later, we all went to Fat Cats Pool Hall (Billiards Not Swimming) to watch Andy play in his Masters Match. He lost to The Professor 7-6 (and yes, that totally sounds like a name from the “Bourne” series), but it was fun sitting with my folks in the gallery watching the match, eating onion rings and wings, and just feeling normal. At the end of the match, we drove home and Andy remained after for 15 or 45 minutes.

Physically I’m feeling good, OK. I’m slightly anxious about the OBGYN-related stuff, but reassure myself that we’ve got a plan and that I’m under good care/monitoring. With the cooler weather (rain), my skin feels a tad drier; I continue to use my rosacea medication 2x daily and facial lotion as needed. My lips are still dry, so chapstick remains my friend, and I continue noticing improvement with my eyes (less dry) with the use of Cequa drops and expression of my eyes’ Meibomian glands. I’m tired – but I’ve been challenging my body with several tough workouts at HEW, and have had two late nights this week, so that’s likely pretty normal. Plus, with two parents in town I’ll be working my best to keep up with them.

And that’s about all I’ve got. Have a wonderful remainder of your day!

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