Thursday, October 4

Post-Bone Marrow Biopsy Check-In, and Humbled Gratitude

Hello! I wanted to check in and let you all know how I am doing post-bone marrow biopsy. As of right now, I'm feeling well! The biopsy was kind of interesting... I got all ready and my IV in upstairs, then they wheeled me down a floor to the area where they do lung scopes, because they have the means to use sedation in that area. Once we were in the procedure room, the nurse got me ready - sticky things onto my chest for the heart and respiration monitor, getting me onto my stomach and keeping the cords untangled, etc. They let Hubs walk me down there, and he ended up staying the whole time. I told them he could wait in the corner (ha) but they let him stay right up by me and hold my hand throughout the procedure. It was pretty mild as procedures go: clean the area, stick some needles in to "numb" it, make a little incision for the bigger needles, stick in the bigger needles, get syringes of fluid, and again needles in, bottle up the samples and send them off to the lab. (This is the run-down that Hubs gave me.) The process was simple. What wasn't so simple was the fact that the doctor was going into my bone - my pelvic bone in my back, to be exact, in between my left hip and spine. Hubs said that at one point the doctor was tapping, tapping, tapping (kind of like hammering) to get into the bone for the samples. ::Shudder much?::

I am told that I was dozing for just the first minute or so. As soon as the needle for lidocaine went in, I cringed and said, "Ouch!" They had to keep going with that, and I repeated my cringing, flinching and "ouch"-ing. Then when the real needles started, I really yelped and was saying, "That hurts!" and crying. That all went on until they finished. :(
I'm glad I don't really remember that, although I have a weird dream-like deja-vu memory of it, and I woke up in recovery crying. (SO strange to me that I have no recollection of getting off the table and into the stretcher to be wheeled back upstairs - but Hubs said I was 'awake' and did it myself. Trippy!)
My poor doctor, he called me twice -later that evening and the next afternoon- to see if I remembered and how I was doing. I think he felt really bad. He is really compassionate; the nurse told me that most of the hematologists don't give their patients anything for this procedure. I have to give that a big, "OMG - are they crazy?! I wonder how they get any samples?!"

Recovery was simple, except it took me a long time to get the drugs out of my system. We got to go home within the hour after the procedure, but I took almost a two hour nap once I was at home, and stayed groggy all night. I was bummed that they gave me more sleepy juice when I was yelping, because it clearly didn't work quickly enough to inhibit the pain or my reactions, but it stayed with me all night. Icky stuff, but a blessing to have, too.

My doctor called that evening to say that a quick look at the bone marrow show it looks "quite healthy" (yahoo!!) and so in that case, he's going ahead with his hunch (after putting all the pieces of my recent and past health history together, which he did quite thoroughly in our pre-biopsy consult), that it is my immune system destroying platelets, something like the condition ITP. So he prescribed me a four day Rx of Dexamethasone, which is like a super-Prednisone steroid drug, to hopefully get my immune system to calm down. It was very interesting learning that this condition affects a lot of young women that he sees in his Hematology practice, and that often it can happen after a viral infection - your immune system is working hard to fight the virus, and it can "misfire" and start destroying platelets along with viral cells. Fascinating, and totally fits with Emily's immune health nonsense, right? (Haha.) Have I mentioned I would like a new immune system for Christmas? :)
On the positive, of course, there are too many things to list, but one huge one is that I'm grateful for an immune system that works overtime, instead of not enough!

So I'm on day three of the Dexamethasone, almost done, and it's not bad. I even get to continue breastfeeding for most of the day, I just pump in the mid-day when the dose is highest in my body and feed Vicky at bedtime and in the morning. She is so in love with nursing, still, it is so sweet, and I'm grateful I didn't have to take something that would have been incompatible with nursing. Weaning her abruptly would be traumatic. Another thing to thank God about! (By the way, I did check with my friend who is a brilliant pharmacist, and also with Vicky's pediatrician. Always good to make sure about these things rather than not informing yourself of any risks.)

One more thing about the biopsy:
My doctor is awesome - I asked him at the end of the consult if we could not do the biopsy if my platelets had gone back up to normal (they would draw a sample to test once I got my IV in), and he said sure, without even looking at me funny. I think he sees people with some faith occasionally :)  The gals from the lab came in to the procedure room right after my doctor, with their special sample-gathering equipment, and delivered the news on my platelets: they were down to 10,000 - that or below that is considered "critical." Yikes! My doctor looked at me and said, "It's good we're doing this then, just in case," and I agreed.

Tomorrow we re-check my platelet count. I am believing it will be back to normal! The exciting thing about this condition is that after this short treatment, it can disappear (or go into remission) FOREVER. Please agree with me in prayer for that outcome!

Speaking of prayer: Wow, I have been so humbled by the prayers of my Christ-following friends and my church family - my strongest teammates in life! They (some of you reading this!) are lifting me up to the Lord in mighty prayers, and I want to say thank you again! I really felt it yesterday in my body! Yesterday I woke up with NO MORE PAIN at the biopsy sight. It didn't hurt all day, until I was running through a parking lot pushing Vicky in her stroller and it just ached like a little bruise for a second (yes, I was running and pushing the stroller, and we were both laughing our heads off! It was the best!)
But back to what I was saying - I'm so thankful for a church that is family; just like God designed it to be. I am grateful for so many believing with us that my healing is on its way. I'm so thankful that God placed Hubs and I in our city four years ago this month, where we knew no one, and drew us into an incredible church where we knew not one person but each other, but knew right away that it was HOME.
I would be a messy mess without my church, without the wisdom, encouragement, and sense of belonging and purpose I receive from being a part of that house. And I am so, so grateful that somehow, although I feel like I don't contribute a thing compared to what I'd love to contribute since my health really took a turn, somehow our little family has been endeared to so many special people, and somehow it seems God makes our hearts and love and commitment to our church shine through even if we're absent more than we'd like, and not able to serve as much as we want to serve.

What a gift to know I am loved and not looked down upon one bit, and that so many of my teammates just want to see me whole and well again - BETTER than before. That reminds me of the heart of Jesus. I love you, my Champions Centre family!