Monday, April 30, 2007

The highs, the lows, the bloody nose

Oh, where to begin?

First of all, the dexamethasone experience wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared. Ever since I was diagnosed, I've had a huge, huge fear of the dex. I've heard nothing but horrible things about it. Granted, most of the people saying these horrible things are taking a much higher dose than I am, and they are a good 20 to 30 years older, but I didn't really take that into consideration. Besides, even Dr. GPO told me that 40 mg of dex was going to make me "wired", that I'd be able to set a "world record on the treadmill", and that if I managed to sleep four hours on the night that I took it, I'd be a "world-champion sleeper."

Yeah, that really scared me. I don't want anything to mess around with my sleep. I'm very serious about my sleep -- especially after having a newborn and going about three or four straight months without any. I know what lack of sleep can do to me. I mean, there was the time I started crying over a Celine Dion performance on Oprah. Why was I even watching Celine Dion on Oprah in the first place? Why?? Lack of sleep, people! It makes you do awful, awful things.

Anyway. On Saturday, I was so scared of being up all night with the dex that I cut all caffeine out of my day, and ... the only really bad side effect I had was one really awful caffeine-withdrawal headache. As soon as I had a Diet Coke, everything was fine. I still managed to get in eight hours of sleep. Does this make me the Double World Champion Sleeper? That's a title I don't mind holding.

Then on Sunday, just as I was gloating over my big dex victory, I got a bloody nose. I called and left a message for Revlimid Nurse first thing this morning, worried it was caused by the Coumadin. (That's the blood thinner I'm on.) While I was waiting for her to call back later in the afternoon, I got two more bloody noses, and I started to feel more and more tired. The nurse called back and said I needed to come in right away for an INR test -- that's the test that tells you how the Coumadin is affecting your blood. If your blood's too thin, you could be in big trouble. I was home alone with WCB, who now has my cold, and I had to wake her up from her nap, throw her into the car, and take her poor, sniffly little nose into the Cancer Center with me. Bless her, she was extremely well-behaved and charmed all of the lab techs. I brought along her bunny puppet and made it climb up and down a fake tree in the waiting room about 200 times.

After all of that, my INR came back at 1.3, which is perfectly fine. They also ran a complete blood count on me, and Dr. GPO himself came out to inspect me, talk everything over with me, and make sure I wasn't dying. I'm not. They couldn't find any myeloma/Revlimid/Coumidin-related explanation for the nosebleeds. Most likely, they were just from blowing my nose 100 times a day since getting my cold on Thursday. Nice.

Dr. GPO told me my blood counts were just fine, but my hemoglobin is all the way down to 10, either because of the myeloma, the Revlimid, or both. Whoa. That's why I'm so tired. "You're not what you used to be," said Dr. GPO. Yeah, I know.

I need to go to bed now. I'm the Double World Champion Sleeper, after all.

1 comment:

Karen's sister said...

Do you remember when I was a kid and I'd get bloody noses all the time? Remember the one on our way to Alaska? Yuck! (Will spare details for your readers). Anyway, I'm sorry you're having your highs and lows, but glad you're sleeping. Maybe you should have another contest just in case you can't sleep some nights though, like, "What should Karen do in the wee hours?" My vote is that you should write a novel. Or paint a mural in your basement.