Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ta-da! My amazing disappearing platelet trick

Allow me to draw your attention to this bag of yellow, single-donor platelets I hold in my left hand.  These platelets are going to be eased by gravity into my port early Monday evening because as of Monday morning my platelets remain too low for the spine biopsy on Tuesday (today).  Watch as the platelet bag becomes empty, and watch as the nurse draws my blood to monitor my post-transfusion platelet level.  Wait for it, wait 30 minutes to discover my new platelet value, here comes my fancy trick <envision my magic sparkle jazz hands here>--ta-da!  My platelets are lower than before the transfusion!  Isn't that fancy?  Did I dazzle you with my magic, or did you miss it?  Here, let me do it again.  This time it is after midnight, and I pre-medicate with tylenol, benadryl, and a steroid to help protect the platelets.  Again, I present to you a bag of single-donor platelets hanging from a stainless steel hook.  Again we draw some blood to test for all sorts of goofy things:  antibodies against the platelets, some heparin-related disorder (this is the substance that is injected to hang out in my port when my port is not in use), some other crud, and platelet levels.  I wave my magic sparkle jazz hands and--ta-da!  My platelets again are lower than before!  I am so amazing.  But I'm not done yet, oh no.  Now it's 6 am and I will attempt a bag of multi-donor platelets.  I pre-medicate, the platelets infuse slowly, I release some blood, and...can I have it quiet in the audience, please?  <drumroll>  My platelets are up!  I guess I'm not a very good magician, but oh heavens am I relieved to be able to receive platelets and to have the spine biopsy today.

My platelets are still not to the threshold that my oncologist would like (100), but they are above the threshold the radiologist/spine surgeon would like (50).  I therefore received yet another bag of multi-donor platelets about an hour ago, and we'll send a sample of my blood to the lab any minute now.  Outlook is good for the spine biopsy today, probably early afternoon.  We are very curious about my amazing disappearing platelet trick, but because my body accepted the multi-donor platelets it is no longer an acute thing to worry about.

I spoke with the radiologist this morning, and here's a sketch of the procedure:  make me goofy with drugs but don't put me under, insert needle through the skin at T9 vertebral body using some window that is naturally present in the spine, manually drill a hole through a bit of bone, take a sample of marrow, wait for results (some results could come as early as today and as late as in 2 days).  As I've been verbalizing this week to geographically proximal folks, there's no middle ground for the results.  They will either be huge-sigh-of-relief results because I have a mild injury and T9 is simply healing, or they will be sob-on-a-loved-one's-shoulder results because I have a tumor in T9 that managed to grow DURING general mitotic inhibitor chemotherapy.  Either way, I'm sure I will curse.  The word choice will be dictated by the nature of the news.

I am surprisingly calm, possibly because I am hungry and dehydrated (nothing to eat or drink since midnight).  I am positively delighted to be moving forward and getting answers regarding T9.  This platelet thing has been inconvenient at worst, painless at best.  My recovery after the biopsy is supposed to be only 3-4 hours, so I should be home tonight.  If I'm lucid, I'll post and tell you how it went, otherwise I'll wait until I have some results to share.  Hopefully the good kind.  


  1. Oh my.
    Sometimes I wish you were more like your thirteen-year-old self because I am completely baffled by how well you handle each and every hardship.
    Amazed, really.

  2. Heather the Magnificent! Do you do birthday parties? Erin's birthday is in April. The guests will be babies to 4yr olds, so they won't expect much.

    Thinking good thoughts and sending big hugs via blogging. Hope your cold is getting better.

  3. I was going to ask what causes your platelets to keep diminishing, but since it seems like it's a mystery (or magic), I'll defer.

    I'm continuously amazed by how...gracefully you handle each and every thing that comes your way. And you're a magician, no less. Not just anyone has that talent, you know.

    You have so many people thinking of you today, sweet girl. I hope that the results come back positive and that we're all shouting joyous expletives together. I'll start practicing now.

    Lord knows I love to swear.


  4. Yuck, yuck, and more yuck. Yuck! Did you like double your poke tally in the last 24 hours??!! I really want to believe you that it has been painless so far.

    Its early afternoon now. I sincerely hope they are drilling a hole in your spine as I write this. That just doesn't sound like something a friend should be hoping for. Double checking ... nope, I'm just a sick, demented lady who is holding her breath, waiting to curse in solidarity.


  5. I am in awe at your state of mind. 'Calm' is good and 'positively delighted' is even better. I am praying that your result of T9 are a huge sigh of relief and that goodwill platelets are about to rock your boat shutting out any further growth of any tumor because your chemo did what it was suppose to. Your positive mind amazes me to no end.