Increasingly nauseas, developing big white sores on my gums, itching all over my entire bod, numb and painful feet, blistered lower lip, sore (streppy) throat.
Todd emailed Dr. Fantastic on Sunday evening with these charming newest symptoms, and he immediately replied with, “Come in to see me tomorrow, I’ll squeeze you in.” So yesterday I drove to Todd’s office to pick him up on the way to Duarte. We agreed I would drive so Todd could eat his ‘to go’ lunch and make some business calls. I didn’t mind at all – we were cruising northbound in my new Merry Christmas/Happy 100th Day Post Transplant/Happy Birthday/Way to Kick Ass on Two Diseases sled. I know the next part you’re gonna call bullsh*t on, but I pinky swear it’s true. The 405 and 605 went very well – no issues. Then Todd’s lunch scraps started smelling a little foul. We came to a screeching halt on the 605 to 210 transition and all the truck fumes added to my queasiness. We exited at Buena Vista and as I was making a left across 4 lanes of traffic, I grabbed Todd’s Styrofoam tray and hurled. It was very watery, due to my massive hydration prior to blood tests, and it was bright yellow, due to the Mepron medication I took about an hour earlier. Picture neon yellow liquid sloshing around the shallow, flimsy non-biodegradable container, spilling over as I make another left turn, taking care not to hit the median, and add more barf to the collection. “Pull over! Pull over!” yelled Todd. I did and I looked down to eye the damage. 75% yellow vomit all over the crotchal area of my white shorts, 5% on my new Rodriquez t-shirt. F-ing awesome! Not one drop on my new interior! No chance of offing my new car smell prematurely. Skills! I asked Todd a question I already knew the answer to: “Do we have any napkins?” The only thing we came up with was a surgical mask, not known for their absorbability. My profound sympathy and apologies to the residents of the house whose yard we used to deposit the remaining 20% of the styro tray contents!
Todd drove the remaining 3 blocks to City of Hope and dropped me off at the front entrance. I was so f-ing nauseas! Let me remind you, I have a very large embarrassing yellow stain all over the crotch of my white shorts and gooey trails of vomit and tears streaming from my face. As I entered, the overly cheerful greeters at the front door sang out in unison, “Welcome to City of Hope!” all I could muster was “mmmmmm.” I felt kinda like Dan Akroyd in Trading Places when he’s dressed like Santa and has that rotten, disgusting salmon caught up in his beard. I darted straight to the ladies’ room and started cleaning myself up when a nice looking young woman entered with what appeared to be no urgency and locked herself into the first stall. She proceeded to orchestrate a deafening diarrheal display. (I hope you are taking note of this expert descriptive example of alliteration, Mrs. Cleveland, my 7th grade English teacher.) This young girl would no doubt receive straight ‘10s’ from the entire panel of international judges. I took the next stall and continued hurling. In between pukes, I said, “Wow, we’re quite a pair, aren’t we?” She either did not appreciate my sense of humor or (more likely) didn’t speaky de English. From there, I was off to my blood draw, where I immediately asked the nurse for a plastic basin (during my 90 days in the hospital, I had one 24/7 on my lap as a security blanket on top of my actual blanket). As the nurse poked and drew blood out, I threw up into the pink plastic. I was seated in the first chair, so every patient had to pass me, probably thinking I was a pussy who couldn’t handle a f-ing needle. Ha!
I continued on to my appointment with Dr. Fantastic, continually emptying and re-filling my barf basin. He took one look in my mouth, asked me a few questions and diagnosed me with Graft vs. Host Disease. This means that Leason’s cells and my cells are fighting each other. Dr. F. threw in a couple of f-bombs in his description of the disease and our plan of attack. He is so awesome! He added 5 new meds, including my all-time fave ~ Prednisone! I’ll get to relive all the reasons PAB – Prednisone’s A Bitch. I was so relieved to learn that I was not being admitted to the hospital, I didn’t really care. For more info on Graft vs. Host Disease: http://marrow.org/Patient/You_and_Survivorship/Treating_Complications/GVHD/Graft-versus-host_disease_(GVHD).aspx
We then looked at my blood counts that were back from the lab. For the first time since my brawl began (exactly a year ago), my whites, reds and platelets are in NORMAL ranges! After wishing for such results from 261 blood tests over the past year, this was AMAZING news. I even have higher white cells and platelets than my brother, Donor Leason IV!
Best Caregiver Ever Todd arranged for my new meds to be ready for me immediately, so I could get my arsenal well stocked for my newest battle.
Todd, my parents, Leason IV, Mychaela and I attended the 100th birthday of City of Hope and their 37th Annual Bone Marrow Transplant Survivor’s Celebration of Life. It was an incredible event. My doctor (Transplant Department Chair), Dr. Fantastic, was a perfect master of ceremonies. Seeing survivor buttons with 35+ years was so inspirational to me (with 4 months on my button). Leason received a donor button, and he had countless people come up to him to congratulate and thank him. Several survivors met their life-saving donors for the first time – some flew in from Europe for the event. So very emotional. I wish I could be a donor, but alas, no one wants my f-ed up marrow 🙂 If you would like to be someone’s life-saving hero, sign up at: http://marrow.org/Join/Join_the_Registry.aspx