Law and Order

It’s been a frustrating day. Doctors told me I may be able to go home if my neutrophil (something to do with immune system) counts get up to 1000. Yesterday I was around 700, so I was excited that I was getting close, but today they dropped to the 400’s. I am starting to feel a little better since the chemo is wearing off, which makes it even more difficult to be stuck in the hospital. I’m no longer hooked up to IV’s and I’m receiving fewer drugs, so being confined to this room is making me a little crazy. With only a few t.v. channels, I’ve become addicted to Law and Order. I think I’ve watched close to 30 episodes in the past few days . All and all I’m still trying to stay optimistic in hopes that I can go home soon. I know that I will probably not be able to do much once I’m home, but watching law and order on my own couch with my dog would be like heaven. Hope everyone is enjoying the week! Thanks again for all your support! Reading your posts always help me through the day.

Round 1 of Chemo Complete!!!!!!!!!!

5/18/12

Whew! After 10 long days, my first round of chemo is done. Not sure how long it actually stays in my system, but not being hooked up to R2D2 (my IV hanger and pump) 24/7 feels great. I was able to go outside for 30 seconds wearing a mask, but it was the first time I have been outside in 2 weeks. Its amazing how such little things, like being able to go outside, are so excitiing now. Although I’m happy it’s done, now the dreadful waiting game begins. My doctors wont know if the  chemo was effective for a few more weeks, since we have to wait for my blood counts to come up on their own. Once that happens, they will do another bone marrow biopsy, yay (sarcasm), to see if the leukemia is gone. I have failed at numerous attemps to hook up my play station, but I will not give up! Lastly, I miss my dog, Roxanne, terribly. This is the logest I’ve gone without seeing her, but doctors say with my low blood counts it’s too risky to see her. Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Enjoy the fresh air.

fun gifts from friends

5/15/12Image

A combination of being sea sick, flu like symptoms, a real bad Vegas hangover, with a mule kick to the gut starts to describe the nausea from the chemotherapy today, but things were made a bit better tonight by some friends with a few thoughtful joke gifts. It should have been a dead giveaway for what I was in store for the moment I saw Nate and Amiee walk into the room with a giant Barbie gift bag. Opened it up and found a 20 questions game guessing game, some good old nickelodeon gak, and Simon. As I dug deeper into the bag  I found  something Abbey has been refusing to let me buy for years every time I go to the store…..A Dart gun! My trusty Dart gun, furry stuffed replacement dog and I can now protect the other cancer patients on the 10th floor, or at least torment the nursing staff for the next 4 weeks.  As if that wasn’t enough, I took one last reach into the bag and found the jack pot of all ‘get well soon gifts;’ a full size Justin Bieber poster (comb-over hair and all). Nice way to end the day! Thanks Nate and Aimee, and everyone else who continue to brighten my days even when it seems like no light can get in. I love you all goodnight.

Chapter 3: I’m still BIG AL, just maybe a bit bigger this week

5/15/12

It’s been a rough couple of days. Although I knew things would be hard, it still doesn’t make things any easier. Still have nausea, fevers and chills regularly, but didn’t expect to be gaining weight!!!! All the fluids they are giving me has caused me to gain around 30 pounds! They are now giving me a diaretic to pee out all the liquids. Last night I peed out  9 pounds of fluid and I’m back at it today. All the doctors and nurses here are awesome, but Abbey says I have accidently referred to the hospital as jail a few times. “Hey Abbey, do you want to take a walk around the jail with me?” It’s hard to imagine I’ll be here for at least 3 more weeks, but at least I will be able to leave the 10th floor after the chemo is done. Each day of this fight is hard, some worse than others but it all is worth it in the end when I beat this thing. Thanks again for all your encouraging words are support!

Chapter 2: Day 6 of Chemo

5/13/12

Good Morning and Happy Mother’s Day!

Sorry there was no update yesterday, I was given meds for the non-stop hiccups and had a fever, which knocked me out from 10 a.m. until 7 this morning. I was able to see a few blurry minutes of the Lakers beating the Nuggets though! The doctors have just informed me of a small infection in my left lung. They attribute that to me being Neutrapenic (unable to fight off infections), and they will keep an eye on it. Hopefully antibiotics will take care of it. This whole situation can be very overwhelming, but I’m more overwhelmed with how truly blessed and honored I am to have such  great family and friend support! Hug your mom today and thank her for the life she gave you.

ALEX

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face” -[Eleanor Roosevelt

What happened to me? Chapter 1:

5/11/2012

Hello Friends and Family,

I am relatively new to this whole blogging thing, but I’m giving it a whirl! Thank you to John Guydon and Joe Sanders for setting this up for me. It’s a lot easier to share my daily progress this way. So let’s start from the beginning. In March I had a respiratory cold, but decided to go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (with my strong Irish roots and all). Surprisingly, a cold, cocktails and oysters sent me into a downward spiral of illness.  I woke up the next day with a terrible cough and had no voice. I went to the doctor and was given antibiotics. That night my stomach and esophagus felt like they were literally on FIRE! I woke up the next morning with a rash all over my chest. Abbey recalls me coming into the room and asking, “is this normal?” The Doc assumed I had a reaction to the antibiotics so I stopped taking them. I continued to have the rash on and off for the next week, but then things started to clear up. I felt pretty ‘normal’ besides being tired from work and house work preparing for the baby. Then in late April my foot and ankle started to swell up. I assumed I tweaked it at work, but the next day both feet were swollen. They definitely looked like professor Klump’s from the Nutty Professor. Then the rash was back. I took some Benedryl and passed out for about 12 hours. The next day Abbey and I were staining our deck and I felt exhausted after only a short time of painting and started to get a bad bloody nose. We decided to call it a day and grab some dinner before the Laker game started, but suddenly something came over me while I was tying my shoes and decided to go to the after- hours care instead. I explained all my symptoms to the doc and he was about to send me home with some Claritin. Luckily, he decided to take some blood and look it over first. Abbey and I sat in the room for over an hour playing around with the few medical devices they left in the room. After a couple of round s of words with friends,  and me anxious to get home for the Laker’s game, the doctor finally came in. He said, “I’m sorry but I’m about to ruin your night.” He told us that my platelets  and red and white blood cells were low. Low platelet levels are around 150,000 and mine were 18,000. The doctor said we need to drive straight to the ER. Totally caught off guard, we headed over to the ER. After several blood tests, a bone marrow biopsy (which hurts like hell) and three days of waiting on the oncology floor (the cancer wing, already a bad sign), they doctor came back with words I never thought I’d hear. The bone marrow biopsy confirmed that I had AML Acute Leukemia. She started to explain that they would continue to look at a few chromosomes but at that point I quit listening in shock and horror from the news. This type of cancer didn’t have the best odds but I tried my best to prepare for the chemo that would start the following day. That next morning, the doctor called but I was in the bathroom (you know me). Several minutes later she rushed into my room and shouted, “you have APL Leukemia.” My initial thoughts were, whatever, cancer is cancer. Turns out APL (known as Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia), is more rare, but has a much higher remission rate! APL Leukemia is a subtype of AML  (much easier to fight according to my doctors). Now we joke around stating that I have “good cancer.” I am now in my fourth day of chemo. The first night sucked. I had chills, shakes, fever, shortness of breath  . . . you name it.  Although things are definitely rough right now, I’m feeling okay besides these hiccups I’ve had for about 12 hours!! Lastly, I am overwhelmed with all the love and support Abbey and I have received. I can’t express how grateful we feel to know so many amazing people. I already have a whole new perspective on life and attribute that to all who have encouraged and supported me thus far. I love you guys!

Thank you for your support!

Hello Everyone. Thank you to all my family and friends for all of your prayers and support.  I will try and keep this as updated as possible with the latest on my fight. https://rally.org/ligon

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