October 28, 2016

Tagrisso, Round 3

Since I last updated you, I spent another week in the hospital, in the cancer ward. Other than nurses waking me up frequently to check my vitals or change my iv treatment/infusion and getting poked daily at 6am by phlebotomists, I had a pleasant stay. I learned to give up on hospital food so S brought in takeout often... I actually put on weight this time!  

While I was in the hospital, my platelets remained low, even went as low as "zero" one day. The hematologist diagnosed me with ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura--my immune system was attacking platelets!). They started treatment with IVIG (iv immunoglobulins), which was supposed to overwhelm my immune system enough to shut it down. After two infusions over two days, they realized it wasn't working. Fortunately, even with only "2" platelets (actually 2000 platelets per microliter) my bloody nose finally clotted after almost a week and the hematologist felt it was safe to send me home with a 4 day course of "mega" steroids, again to attempt to suppress my crazy immune system. This was great timing! I was discharged from the hospital the night before a close friend's wedding. I warned her beforehand that I may be psychotic (one expected steroid side effect) but the only side effects I got were high energy, no pain and an insatiable appetite, which was perfect for this special occasion:). The withdrawal symptoms are another story.

It was a perfect, warm autumn day in the Rocky Mountains. We made it just in time (don't ask) for the beautiful outdoor ceremony, where many of my other close friends were also in attendance. This was exactly what I needed. I forgot about only having "2" platelets, among other health issues. All day and night, we laughed, talked and gossiped, and I embarrassed the bride with our stories :). Thank you A & T !!! (and dex). 

Shortly after I began the steroid treatment, my platelet count started to rise. I was allowed to restart Tagrisso (round 3) with careful monitoring. More friends came to visit. And, as soon as it was safe to fly, I went to visit my childhood best friend and her family, who managed to fatten me up some more. This was a much needed escape: quiet, peaceful, carefree and gluttonous :). Love and gratitude to my Manitoba family! And all of my wonderful friends! 

As soon as I arrived back home, I enjoyed a week long celebration of my milestone birthday.  Zoey came back to us, in time for my birthday! Tagrisso is still working its magic (albeit at a lower dose) and the platelets are currently in a safe zone, although weekly monitoring continues. I feel "normal" again, socializing, cooking and cleaning, and talking about mundane everyday things. Life is good :).

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