Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good times at the Huntsman: 11/29/2010

Today was a super day at the Huntsman. At the end of a major cycle, the sponsor, needs to know what effect the drug is having on my body. So, when I say, it was A super day, I really mean that they did lots of tests-for over four hours.

Bone Marrow Biopsy That which I feel may not be exactly what happens, but after numbing my hip in the middle of my back with a great deal of novocaine, the doctor inserts a large needle into the bone and breaks through the bone to get inside the hipbone. She then pulls out this including the bone marrow from inside the hip. Today, she did that twice and then using something like a hollow drill, she corkscrewed into the hip and extracted a bone sample. I confess, I yelled pretty loud, and it hurt like - - !

The biopsy site will be painful for 24 to 48 hours and makes sleeping with my ankle in a cast more difficult. The biopsy will be used to determine the proportion of JAK2 to regular stem cells and will indicate whether the rat poison is functioning as intended.

Blood Tests Normally, they do a single needle into the major vein in your elbow, and from that needle they extract 5 to 11 vials of blood. Today, they only extracted five vials of blood. I told them that I was not loved very much if there were only five vials. Later, after the bone marrow biopsy, they came in for 11 more files. So, I must still be loved by the testers a great deal.

As expected, there were not many changes in my blood counts: my platelets were about the same and my red and white blood counts were normal. I expect to see lower blood counts at my next appointment, December 29, 2010, because of the increased dosage of rat poison.

EKG and Vital Signs I'm pretty normal: 97.6 degrees, 116/62 (a little low), and down about 10 pounds after my surgery.

There is always great food at the Huntsman. The Point restaurant and deli are subsidized by the Huntsman with food provided by Gastronomy restaurants. Today, however, I have been nauseated and was restricted to Sprite, soda crackers and a roll with butter.

A FRIEND AT THE HUNTSMAN “Pat” is a 72-year-old woman on the same study protocol as myself. She is slight of build and very friendly. One day In Clinic A, I noticed that she carried the same red protocol book as me and I introduced myself to her. She has a similar condition to mine (myleoproliferative, related to Leukemia) but it is not polycythemia vera. Her disease seems to be more advanced than mine, and she requires 2 to 3 units of blood every two weeks. She is also hoping to increase her dosage of rat poison. We talked today, and occasionally on the telephone. She has good friends and family who drive her to the Huntsman. Like anyone on a study drug, I worry for her.