Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Changes Quickly

This post is a long time in the making.  At the beginning of September, I wrote almost finished posts in the middle of a sleepless night only to fall asleep and come back to a blank page -- three times....ugh!!!

At the time, there was no set plan for treatment, even though it had been 3 weeks since my relapse. Since then we learned that active GVHD has disqualified me for most clinical trials, but that there are two low-dose chemo agents, Dacogen and Vivaza, which can be administered. Both are given as an outpatient treatment over five to seven days. Nausea, diarrhea and joint pain are common with these.  The good news is that they are starting up a new clinical trial in a few months that I am a candidate for that targets a CD33 receptor that my leukemia has!  The hope is that a few rounds of Dacogen will get

Even back in early September when I wrote those missing posts, my hemoglobin was stable around 10, but my platelets were dropping 10-20k a week and I was going to need to be transfused soon. I remember how my body used to burn them up as soon as I got them if they couldn't get HLA-matched platelets, so that adds some delays to the process. It delayed so much as to feel like nothing was happening!  I needed to get a port put in to stop the incessant needle poking, but couldn't until platelets were given. There's always a shortage of platelets, so I encourage you to ask about donating platelets in addition to red blood.

Tuesday night this week, I started to feel chills after dinner.  It didn't seem like a big problem until Mike noticed that my speech turned into a very unusual and unprompted silliness.  When he took my temperature it was 105 degrees!  I was taken to the hospital where they discovered that I had pneumonia, a urinary tract infection, another bladder infection, a systemic staff infection and was heading toward septic shock.  I was in the ICU for a couple of days trying to get my blood pressure back up, and just as they upgraded me to the regular hospital, the chills and fever returned.  My blood pressure hasn't been as much of a problem, but the fevers have been up and down daily.  This is really bad, since they are throwing their strongest 3-4 antibiotics and a really strong antifungal at me, yet the x-rays are showing that the fungal pneumonia is progressing.

At least I was able to get a picc line put in (instead of the port which would have been too risky), and received a transfusion of platelets (2 bags) and 2 units of red blood which seems to have worked well.  My platelets were down to 15k before the transfusion, and the next day they were at 50k.  This is supposed to be good enough to be able to get a bronchioscope in to sample the pneumonia in her lungs, which they may have to do early next week, but it's still very low compared to the normal minimum of 150k.

They cannot start treating the leukemia until the pneumonia is knocked out.  My white blood count has been low and is starting to drop.  They changed the labs to start to differentiate the white blood count so that they can tell if this is because the leukemia is becoming more active.

The situation is quite serious right now, and it is difficult for me to feel like I'm going to make it through all this.  Mike, though, reminds me regularly that the doctors have given up on me before and were wrong.  Whatever the outcome, we know that God should get the glory.  All healing that we receive on this side of heaven is a temporary dose of grace; ultimate healing belongs to the resurrection at the end of days.  I want so much to stay here to finish what I've started, though, especially in regards to my kids!

"Show me, LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is."--Psalm 39:4

1 comment:

Kim Newton said...

Thanks for posting this update, Krista and Mike.

Here are some videos that give some background info on the hymn by Horatio Spafford's that you cited.

So encouraging! Love, Kim

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvq3pYsHidA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StkvKq7O2A8