Thursday, September 4, 2008

Holding Pattern

I am still getting my blood drawn on mondays, wednesdays and fridays typically and things have been slightly better with my RBC and platelets improving. This week I also had to have an ultrasound to look at my organs (specifically my liver) to see if there were any concerns. I also was able to meet my new attending physician on wednesday, as she replaced my original PA. They rotate on the 6th of every month.

After our brief introduction she apologized for having to stick a 5" long needle into my spine!! Let me splain.........for all transplant patients, they have to do a procedure called a Lumbar Puncture.....I guess they think that sounds better than a Spinal Tap? I liked Mandy's name for it the best Lumbar Tap. The reason they do a spinal tap is to find out if any Leukemic cells have crossed what is called the blood/brain barrier. If they find any leukemic cells in the spinal fluid.........that is not good! Our blood/brain barriers are really good at keeping bad things out apparently, but occassionally some can slip through so they need to make sure. So anyway, I had to lay down on a bed while they give me a numbing agent (lydocain I believe). The nurse instructed me to roll myself up into a ball........similar to what a potato bug does........well Im not that flexible! I did my best, and tried not to be nervous, even though the techs in the blood lab had told me this procedure was more difficult than a bone marrow aspiration! That was not welcome news, as I had been getting conscious sedation (my best friend right now) for those procedures. So there I am lying on my side rolled up like a potato bug trying not to shake and sweat with some obvious fear settling in.........and they are saying......."now try and relax"!

The first attempt didnt go well as my newly acquainted physician was unable to find the sweet spot to draw the spinal fluid. After about 5 or 6 attempts with the 5" needle.........she called a second nurse in to help find the spot.........they assured me this was normal, about 20 seconds after the first nurse said I was in her 1% of failed attempts stats. "99% of the time I get it on the first try!" she said as I lay there thinking what?! So the second nurse comes in........more lydocain.......and a few more attempts at finding the sweet spot. On about the 5th attempt..........I felt this lightning bolt of electricity go down my right leg into my foot, and then back up through my leg at a slower pace..............I told them immediately what was happening, and they said oh good we found the spot! At this point I am thinking to myself .......find a happy place!

They were in and my spinal fluid was drawing into a last! Mandy was watching the procedure the entire time, and told me about the length of the needle afterwards and that my spinal fluid is clear like water. Hopefully I will not have to do another Lumbar Puncture.

We will be having a second consult next week to discuss the transplant further. They havn't found anything wrong yet that would prevent them from doing the procedure, and we are feeling more and more comfortable with our transplant team and the process every day.......well maybe except during that Puncture.

Hope to have more for you soon,


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