Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Two rough days

Well, it has been hard to write much in the past two days.  Today is day +12, and it is a monumentous one in many ways.

But going back to Day 10 (can you hear the Tardis whooshing?).......

For the past couple of days, starting on that day, I developed a fairly serious fever going up to 39.8 or so C which is about 103.6 Fahrenheit [Note: It went a bit higher later on into the 104 range].  They don't even "count" it as a fever if it is below 101 degrees.  Some of you have probably had fevers that high, and it fries your brain.  I felt like those old anti-drug adds:  this is your brain on drugs.  It also suppressed my appetite which was already weak, so that even though we were controlling the nausea, I still didn't want to eat.

To try and make sure they got on top of this quickly, the BMT folks went immediately into culturing my blood (thus the soy sauce in my last post).  They did this at first 2-3 times that first day and then once daily after that.  I also went on major antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals, but they had no effect on me, I'm sure......they also increased my check on vitals to keep track of my temperature, etc.

They couldn't give me any meds to control my temperature until they verified the temperature and then very carefully so as to not mask any existing fever.  Trying to walk became almost impossible, and it made for two difficult days.

At the same time, Dr Asch reassured me that all of this was fairly normal, even routine.  We are at the nadir, the low point, of the hospitalization.  She suspected that I was not actually experiencing an invasive infection (although that can happen even from within your own gut as bacteria cross over into the blood stream).  She thought it was something called Engraftment Syndrome -- this means that the body is reacting to the rapid settling in (engraftment) of the new stem cells and the ramping up of production of my own new immune system.  She said it was also common to have headaches (check) and body rash.  Speaking of which, no rash on Day 10.  I go into shave on Day 11 and unbutton my shirt to access lower on my neck and What in the world??????  My entire torso is covered with a rash that doesn't itch or hurt.  My legs all the way to my waist look similar, but look more like petichae which is small ruptures of the capillaries caused by insufficient platelets and leaves a forest of red dots.  So -- check.

Today, I was told that my white blood counts were at 500 total with 300K neutrophils (the cells that attack invaders and infections).  They usually want to see 500K neutrophils before they consider discharge so you can hold your own outside.  They also said that my red blood cells went from 24K to 25K -- above the limit for transfusion -- and they did this on their own!  Also, I have been getting platelets for the past two days; they think the fevers were burning them up as they went into my body.    So they checked today, and my plates were up to 22!  Without any transfusion - they did this on their own.  I was saying:  way to go, boys!!

So it looks like Dr. Asch was right (Dr. Mitchell was thinking the same way today).  I am beginning to produce my own new immune cells.  If my neutrophils go up over 0500, we will begin discussing discharge, although it also depends on whether I have any more fevers.

I see this progress (despite my misery) as evidence of prayers being answered.  Thank you all.


  1. So interesting to read your account of your progress, Anton, it is a testimonial to the miracle of the human body and its fight for survival. You are quite the fighter yourself, Anton! Sorry for the misery, but grateful that it seems you are in recovery mode. we miss you walking on our street, but look forward to seeing you walking the streets again. prayers for you.

  2. Thanks, Debi. I'm walking more these days. Thanks for stopping by the other day. I think that the body is a miracle and the progress we have made, all those funds and efforts spent on understanding cancer, are really starting to pay off. It is a true blessing to live in these times.