Category Archives: moments to cherish

Hickman Catheter Date Strip Art!

Iheartnurses

I told my caregiver not to put an exclamation point after “I heart nurses”… I didn’t want to go over the line into sucking up.

Do you have a Hickman catheter *and* an artistic caregiver? Then you should be aware that the little date strip (where you write the last time the dressing was changed) has plenty of space for additional artistic expression!

The little smiley face peeks out of my neckline when I wear a v-neck blouse.  (The smudge of yellow at the bottom is because I’m allergic to chloraprep swabs, so we go with betadyne).

Go and do likewise! Maybe with fine-tipped colored Sharpie markers!

Copyright © 2013 E. Palmberg. All blog content guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.

Welcome, Phil II!

Congratulations, doctors and me–it’s a bouncing baby Phil!

I’m delighted to say that, in the last few days, there has been growing evidence that Phil II is starting to wake up and kick into gear. Welcome, Phil II!My immune system is still quite weak–the [neutro]Phils, or first line of defense against infection, are still less than half the normal range of 1500 to 7800 per cubic millimeter. The rest of my white count, which has not been stimulated by shots like Phil has, is functionally nonexistent. But all this is a heck of a lot better than the “less than 50” reading (which is the lowest reading available) I’d been getting for about two weeks, and it means that the donated marrow is probably waking up (testing in a couple weeks will show how much of the marrow is original flavor, and how much is the grafted donation).

I still have to wash my hands a lot, but the doctors have already let me off several of the precautionary medications (antifungal, antibiotic) that they had me on while I had little immune system. So long, Polly!

Copyright © 2013 E. Palmberg. All blog content guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.

Moment to Cherish: Stuffed White Blood Cell

Bianca the stuffed white blood cellMy friend CarolAnne just gave me a stuffed white blood cell! I immediately named her Bianca. She (Bianca, not CA) is from the U.K., so I imagine her speaking with a British accent. CarolAnne even “baked” her in the dryer to prevent any normal-sized microbes from hitching a ride. Isn’t that thoughtful? Think I’ll put her on my desk as a visual prayer aid.

Content copyright © 2013 E. Palmberg. Guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.

Whoo Hoo!

Hey, blood count fans–great news! When I got tested today at Dr. Virginia’s, I found out my white blood count has tripled in the last week, and my neutrophil level gone up sevenfold. (Warm welcome back, Phil!)

Lookit those white counts climb--go, prayer team, go! Normal WBC is 3.5-10, and normal GRAN (neutrophils) are 1.2-8.

Lookit those white counts climb–go, prayer team, go! Normal WBC is 3.5-10, and normal GRAN (neutrophils) are 1.2-8.

I’m no medical expert, but since Dr. Virginia told me that “hemotologic improvement” would be the sign the Vidaza was working, I’m going to go ahead and assume that means it is working to get me ready for transplant (by reducing the malignant cells in my bone marrow, preparatory to the donor bone marrow wiping out the stragglers with an immune response). Dr. Virginia said the Vidaza often took 3 to 6 months to kick in, and I am in the middle of cycle 4, so that’s right on time.

As an extra benefit, the white counts put my immune system back into the normal range, at least for now. Things tend to dip a little during the middle of my Vidaza cycle, but I’m going to take the opportunity to eat salad for the next few days, and to forego wearing a face mask during non-crowded times on the Metro.I’d like to thank God, all you folks praying for me, medical science, and all the great nurses at Dr. Virginia’s. Also, I’d like to thank my DNA–you are taking the Vidaza treatment to demethylate your little double-helixed heart out, and I really appreciate it.

I heard from the nurse transplant coordinator at Hopkins that they won’t do a bone marrow biopsy on me this month and that they’re likely to do two more months of Vidaza before transplant–I’ll find out more treatment timeline info when I have an appointment there at the end of the month.

Me *not* wearing a mask on my way home from Dr. Virginia's today. Don't worry, I'm still avoiding coughers.

Me *not* wearing a mask on my way home from Dr. Virginia’s today. Don’t worry, I’m still avoiding coughers.

Copyright © 2013 E. Palmberg. All blog content guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.

Two moments to cherish: iron cutwork and Jesus vs. Santa

Jesus vs Santa

fancy iron fenceI have always liked the metal cutwork fence to the left. I enjoyed looking at it back in 2006 when I was taking my daily walk while recovering from my first stem cell transplant, and I enjoyed it today when I took the scenic route home from the supermarket. As an extra bonus, it’s next to a big giant bush of lavender, so it smells good too on a warm day. Which this isn’t, but maybe next time I’ll poach a sprig and crush it under my nose.

Later, in a row house’s front yard, I saw the unexpected sign up at the top of this post–I guess someone wanted to remind people that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, and they decided that the best way to do that was a big word “Jesus,” skipping any extra words such as “is the reason for the season.” There are a few small Santa decorations lurking on the side as if waiting for their chance for a putsch. However, Jesus is holding up ok, notwithstanding noticeable fading on the shiny red substrate. And the letters are actually made of shiny tinsel sprigs that would probably look better on a dimly lit tree than in the afternoon sunlight. But it’s not boring, and I give it high marks for enthusiasm.

Happy New Year, everyone!

All blog content copyright © 2012 E. Palmberg. Guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.

Moment to cherish: Tasty Kabob

Because Vidaza doesn’t affect my appetite much, I am able to enjoy Tasty Kabob when the truck shows up in my neck of the woods. I was hoping the truck would show up tonight, and it did!

Kebob bannerI’m not sure why it’s called “Kabob,” as there are no sticks involved, but it sure is tasty. And, at this point, the guy in the truck recognizes me and puts on two gloves so he won’t absent-mindedly backhand the foil with his ungloved hand before he puts my gyros into it.

Enough yumminess for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow!

All blog content copyright © 2012 E. Palmberg. Guaranteed 100% brave and freaking noble.