There was good news in my future, and now it is in my past: the results of the cytokeratin staining are negative!!!! Woo-hoo!!!! There is no evidence of a tumor in my T9 vertebral body. Also, now that I am personally reading the report, I see that the atypical cells were "rare" in my sample. That is promising, it seems. So, what do we do now? We keep an eye on T9. Another PET scan in 3 months. Life goes on (albeit with some temporary back pain--turns out it's not so bad).
More good news regarding my platelet magic: the solution to the riddle is that my body is producing antibodies to heparin, and these antibodies also attack platelets. Heparin is a substance that gets injected into my port after every use to prevent blood clots in the port. It is not surprising that after 4 months of continued exposure to heparin my body is producing antibodies against it. The bummer is that these antibodies apparently also attack platelets, which I do not fully understand but certainly is not cool. Solution: no more heparin in my port. Instead my port will be flushed with saline after every use. This might put me at an increased risk for blood clots, but a girl can't live without her platelets. By ceasing exposure to heparin, my body should stop producing anti-heparin antibodies, and my platelets should live in peace. In the short term, Dr. Surgeon says she only needs my platelets to be at 50, so I should be good for Monday's surgery. We'll check the platelets again tomorrow.
Regarding the contaminated platelets, it seems that I have emerged unscathed. I asked how I was able to receive contaminated platelets, what part of the pipeline broke down. Dr. Oncologist said that platelets have a greater risk of being contaminated than red blood cells due to extra processing, and that bacterial contamination is detected by culturing (think Petri plates). Usually these bacteria grow up within a certain amount of time (probably 2 days), but the bacteria that were contaminating my bag of platelets grew slower and did not show their ugly faces until the platelets were already administered. Hence the contamination being missed, and possibly hence me not being sick right now. This last part is my own addition, and my thinking is that my body has been able to fight off these slow-growing bacteria that were not adapted to my Wonder Woman bloodstream. Considering the incredibly forward technology that I have at my fingertips everyday at work, it continues to amaze me that such low-tech methodologies persist in medicine. Said another way, I can't believe that we are still culturing to detect bacterial contamination. But I digress...
Last but not least, my cold: pretty sure it's turned into a mild sinus infection. We're skipping the CT scan this time and going straight to antibiotics. Gotta get this knocked out before Monday. I don't want anything to delay Monday's main event. The red spot that chemotherapy chased away is starting to come back a little bit, but you can only see it after a hot shower. Nonetheless, I'm ready to no longer give this spot access to my body. I have mentally quarantined it, but I need some surgical assistance.
NOW my back hurts. Time to give it a break. Thank you for being with me today. Thank you for being with me this week. Hardest week since October, to be sure.