The days have come and gone like the wind that currently howls over our house at this very moment. Hard and fast air lets out then slow, easy almost comforting in a way it rolls back around.
Leukemia is a strange, strange beast. This form of cancer takes over your blood, choking the very life-sustaining cellular composition that travels within your veins. Chemotherapy or five specific chemicals to be more precise, drip into your system neutralizing this mutation as it grows. After five or so days strapped to an I.V. stand you are monitored for a few more days while blood is taken daily to register the effect this deadly poison does on your system. Then as your white cell counts drop (the main target) to almost nothing leaving you susceptible to even the most timid of colds, germs or traveling organisms you are sent home from this hospital incarceration to rest, relax and well, basically begin to feel as though you are dying.
But wait there’s more!
Blood, glorious blood, my feeling on this after watching my wife decline into a pale white almost vampirish state is you begin to crave this gooey red substance. For you see without almost daily transfusions at first, your blood becomes nothing more than an empty, nutrition less liquid that can barely carry oxygen to the brain. Chemo-drugs continue to kill everything within its juicy red make up. No white cells, struggling red cells, no life. Transfusions bring new platelets (Platelets, also called “thrombocytes”, are blood cells whose function (along with the coagulation factors) is to stop bleeding.) and blood. Without transfusions, these chemo drugs would have essentially done their job, killing off all white blood cells, leaving you a deathly shade of white, unable to fight infection and terrified to bump even the slightest object for fear of bleeding to death. No energy to walk, no energy to breathe, no energy to live.
The next few weeks after the first therapy session are spent going back and forth to the hospital. Blood draw at 8am, test results by 9-930 then either another day of sleeping due to a lack of energy or a glorious blood transfusion. Now it sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Blood draw everyday and like having your car run low on fuel, just pop in and fill er’ up! I havent seen the bill yet, but I am pretty sure blood is more than $2.99 a gallon.
But what happens if you are allergic to these transfusions? Well our Miss Jacy is just that, (way to always be an overachiever huh?). So now instead of an easy-peasy morning or plug and play as it were, we stroll in to our own private room (thanks to the really killer, or shall I say bad-ass nurses at Kaiser who really dig my always smiling wife) and the count down begins.
Zyrtec to fight the histamine reaction needs to be on board prior to any fluids
Benydryl to cover an additional reaction that happens sometime after the initial infusion
A bag or two of blood to redden things up a bit! Oxygen rules!!!
Oh and a bag of platelets… Now these are not just any platelets either mind you, no no! These are carefully washed, plasma free platelets (Platelet Light I prefer to call it) made just for Jacy to minimize any allergic reactions. Oh and beware they need to be used quickly for they only have a shelf life of 4 hours!
Funny story the other day my poor wife was in the infusion clinic and hospital from 0930-11:30. Why? Because the delivery service from San Francisco a meer one hour and forty minutes away just couldn’t seem to get her platelets to her in under four hours! Hmmm seems to me that might be a tad bit important, huh? The response for such tardiness? Stuck in traffic. I call balderdash. But that’s neither here nor there .
So now she is all topped off, tune-up finished, low and behold no wheel chair needed to exit the hospital, no shortness of breath detected upon exertion and she feels as though she could run a marathon! Blood, Blood, amazing blood. Since blood is red, I believe I shall start referring to my wife as Ferrari! Sexy sleek thing that she is.
The long and the short of it? This is where we are right now in this whole process. There is much more to come, including a wonderful all-inclusive trip to Stanford University a bit later on. I promise to tell you all about it! I hear the place is all the rave!
I wonder if I could get a blood transfusion after a weekend of rodeo? Hmmmmm???