Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Got Platelets?

Hello everyone!  Steve has been home for 10 days now.  This 10 days has probably been the best post treatment days since he started in terms of how Steve feels.  We came home on Sunday.  Usually Steve stays in bed for several days once we get home.  This time around, he has been up and out of bed most of every day.  He still takes naps here and there, but overall, it has actually been a fairly "normal" last 10 days.  Steve had his blood drawn last Thursday and his numbers were great!  His white blood cells were 6 (normal is 4-11), his hemoglobin (responsible for his energy) was 9.7 which is the highest his has been in a very long time and his platelets were 26 which is low, but to be expected and not low enough for a platelet transfusion.  We had a great next few days.  Friday we took the kiddos to eat at Cici's, Saturday we went to a crawfish boil at my moms house, and Sunday Steve's Uncle Tim and Aunt Robin came in from Bossier City, LA to visit for a couple of hours.

Finally got to wear my Fleurty Girl shirt!

Then comes Monday.  Monday was Steve's next scheduled blood draw.  I told him before he left that he would need a transfusion that day.  He wasn't feeling quite as good as he had been, and he was paler than he had been.  But overall, he still wasn't feeling "bad".  He had his blood drawn @ 10:00am.  We had an early lunch at Mamacita's (his favorite!!).  Again, other than a little fatigue, he was feeling pretty decent.  Steve works from home, and worked the rest of the day once we got home.  I called the Melanoma department @ 12:00 to get the lab results but didn't get a live person.  I left a message and went on with my day.  When I left to pick up Sadie from school @3:00 I realized I hadn't heard back from the nurse, Delores.  I called and got Delores on the phone.  She pulled up Steve's lab results and said "Oh no!!  He needs a transfusion TODAY!"  His platelet count was 4!!  The low range of "normal" is 150 - 450.  A transfusion is needed for anything under 20. 4 is critically low.  At 4 you risk internal bleeding, blood pooling under the skin, uncontrolled nose bleeds, etc.  Steve has had 2 transfusions already, but his levels were NO WHERE near this low.  So, needless to say we were VERY nervous.  By the time everything was set up, we were scheduled to be at MD Anderson Main Campus at 8:00 pm.  He got 4 units of platelets.  Dr. Kim ordered 6, but since there is such a shortage of platelets he only got the 4 units. (Platelet donations are only good for TWO days!!! So just think how many platelet donations are needed per day to keep up with the demand!!)  We got out of there around 10:00 and picked up the kiddos from my mom (who is the best!!) and got home around 11:30.  It was a long crazy day, that is FOR SURE!

Pretending he didn't want his picture taken.

Finally gave me a semi-smile.

Us goofing off while waiting for his platelets. 

I was taking the picture, so he kept doing silly stuff when I would snap the pic!  I just wanted a serious "CHEESE!!!!" picture!

I said "Let's get a smoochy picture" - and of course this is what I get.  

Steve will go back tomorrow for another lab draw.  I have a real good feeling he will need another platelet transfusion AND also a whole blood transfusion.  His hemoglobin was 8.2 on Monday, but they will not transfuse until you are under 8.  Well, I have a feeling that will be tomorrow.

For everyone that asks how Steve is feeling.  He is actually feeling ok.  You really have no "side effects" when you have low platelets.  He worked again today and we just had an overall "normal" day.  You really wouldn't "know" Steve has cancer unless of course you know....haha.  He really has enough energy to make it through all of the normal day to day activities, we go have lunch, he rides with me to pick up Sadie from school sometimes, he helps Sadie with homework, he eats normally, he helps clean up after dinner, he watches TV, he laughs, he plays with Ashlynn, he plays computer games on his computer, etc, etc, etc.   Unfortunately, the treatment just causes his numbers to drop.  Like I always remind him.  The cancer is not causing this, the drugs are causing this.  Once the drugs are finished, these side effects will go away too.  We are thinking the doctor may give him an extra week off again in order to let his body have an extra week to get where it needs to be.  It will just depend on how his labs go tomorrow and Friday.  Steve is scheduled for CAT scans on Sunday, the 13th to see how well treatment is working.  We should get the results on Monday, the 14th.

Thank you for everyone's prayers, well wishes, texts, messages, cards, etc.  And thanks again for everyone who donated to the AIM for a Cure Melanoma walk.  Me, Sadie and my nephew Lee walked the 5k on Saturday.  Between the 3 of us, we raised over $3,000!!!