That's how Dr. Hinton put it to Penny's mama this morning. Penny's blood counts are low, blood pressure has been low, trouble breathing. She practically can't communicate with us, and is incapable of almost anything. Could go on ventilator later today.
MK and I headed up to ICU yesterday to see Mom. She looked a MILLION times better than when we saw her on the second floor Sunday afternoon. Vitals were great and things are looking up.
We (MK and I) got a small case of the giggles while sitting with Mom as she was half asleep and had just taken a Phenegren (sp?) before we got there which resulted in "word vomit" and some pretty funny conversations that we can't wait to tell Mom about. With a woman as creative as Mom you can imagine the types of things she was saying.
We want to thank EVERYONE for the thoughts and prayers being sent our way-keep 'em coming!
God bless all the Dr.'s and nurses in the ICU that have taken such wonderful care of Mom. They are angels here on earth who don't get near enough credit as they deserve.
Mom has had a rough couple of days at the hospital. She's been moved to ICU so the nurses can keep a closer eye on her. Still no visitors, immediate family only. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers. We can only go up from here!!
Thanks to dear friend, former colleague, and cancer survivor, Andrea Minear.
She had sent two that she had worn during her chemo. Another good friend, Kathie Gascoigne had dropped them off for me during a time when I was REALLY DOWN, and very swollen. I put one one, probably backwards, and promptly swore off wigs.
However, after getting two good makeup advisors in the house and challenging them to "well, put the damn make up on me if you think I need it so much!", materials were gathered and they begin play.
Then I remembered the first wigs that were brought by!
We had a winner and it was great to see the looks on the nurses on 2nd floors' faces when I rolled in for my nupagen shot.
It was a great affirmation!
Thank you Andrea, Kathie, Katie and Mary-Keeley for making feel like the old me again!!!!
Is this Penny or what? Thanks to a good friend, mama's got a brand new 'do! Today, Katie, mama and I had a mini makeover session! She's looking good folks, don't be suprised if you see her sippin' a margarita at Pepitos soon.
Why is it that a good haircut and a little lipstick can completely change your attitude? I'd say it's the little girl in all of us, whispering "I wanna feel preeetty". And that she is folks, that she is.
Today Katie is taking me to the Cancer Center for my shots.
I'm really glad that yesterday I had the presence of mind to get them to check my blood while I there because she would have probably been freaked out about the turn of events.
One shot became one shot plus one unit of blood plus one unit of platelets plus one dose of liquid potassium.
I have to admit I'm feeling much better today, though.
I wish I knew how to explain how having leukemia feels. Yes, there are similar things felt amongst all us chemo-guzzlers but some how, I know this is so different.
Being weak and breathless is not easy. Feeling your stomach "roil", and at the least opportune time(s) is a symptom that chemo-guzzlers can relate to. I can't say how they do on making it to where they "need to be" when this happens but it can be hard if you have no breath or energy.
I see people walking in for their chemo treatments. I have to be rolled in, rolled back, rolled out.
Part of it is my fault for not building up muscles when I was earlier on in my treatments.
Every day there is a cheery card or email and often something delicious to eat.
We cannot thank you enough for all your kindness.
Today, though, I am so sad that I cannot go hug my friend, Sharon Pilsch. She was one of the first to come visit me in the hospital, complete with her transplant unit mask and coveralls. She had come from Birmingham after visiting with her husband, Frank, who was awaiting a bone marrow transplant.
It wasn't too much later we ran into Frank at the Cancer Center. He looked fabulous, had a great attitude, we were so thrilled to see how well he was doing.
Frank had his transplant on Friday, March 5th but unfortunately, passed away on Monday, the 8th.
I hurt so much for Sharon and I hurt so much for Gwen Pilsch, who now has lost both her sons, two of the finest guys in Tuscaloosa. I hurt for Amelia Pilsch, widow of Graham, who has faced this before and knows all too well the pain of losing a spouse. I hurt for Erin and Turner, Frank and Sharon's children.
The upside of all of this, if there can be one, is that there are two adorable Pilsch boys waiting to grow up to become the kind of guys their grandfather and uncle were.
The best laid plans of becoming a more regular blogger have be blindsided by technological difficulties...aka the service has been spotty at home, plus a diversion on the health side of things.
Thursday, with all good intentions of returning the wig, taking less than 15 minutes in the cancer center, and then perhaps enjoying the first REAL day of somewhat warmer weather, turned into one of those truly unpredictable days.
I knew I'd been feeling a little breathless on Wednesday, but as we got ready to go to CC at around 11, I totally had no energy....like Jonathan had to put my arms around his neck and lift me, like a dead weight, onto the walker and push me through the jungle known as our garage to get me in the car.
He was moments before calling an ambulance. I begged him not to.
We finally made it to the CC and found out, why yes, Penny, your hemoglobin levels are LOW.
You need two units of blood, thank you very much, along with some platelets.
So we waited. We always know it is a waiting game with the blood. We waited some more. And, we waited.
There had been a trauma in the ER....I could only get one unit of blood and the platelets on Thursday.
Did you know it takes about two hours for blood to go in? When you're in the hospital, it doesn't matter what time they start it. 8:00 p.m. can be just fine because, I mean, where are you going to go anyway?
Starting blood at the CC in the late afternoon means you are last to leave. Like, at 7:00 p.m. Like, after you've been there since 11:00 a.m.
Thank heavens for Kindles and laptops.
Then we were back on Friday at 7:30 for the second unit of blood. Ahhhh, the fun just never ends!
Being a person of large head circumference, wig shopping is proving, uhhhhh, difficult.
Yesterday Mama and I ventured into the boutique at the Cancer Center for the first time. It was time to face my fear. What wig would possibly look decent on top of my Dopey bald head?
Answer? Ummm, not many. The wigs that look so cute on the styrofoam head-lets sat on the top of my head like a bad toupe. Seriously. I think those styrofoam head-lets were modeled from five year olds. Very disconcerting.
Many of the wigs I tried on that had cute cuts really made me look like a large woman in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, the kind of woman that shouldn't have short hair OR be wearing that t-shirt. Cruel, but true.
That cute cut just got lost on the volume of my head. I might have even been the original model for the bowling ball, I don't know.
We found one that made me sort of happy but I had that gut feeling about it. It was "ok" but not great. Of course, my mother loved it. We have always had "hair wars" since I was little so I was growing even more suspicious by the minute.
You see, my mother is blessed with this beautiful hair. It has always been gorgeous, she has always worn it in a certain style, which suits her well. It is just that that style doesn't suit me as well. But it is hard to explain that. This wig closely resembled her style and I KNEW my other two hair critics, Katie and MK, were going to say.
Yowser, that SWEN moo goo gai pan really hits the spot!
We were in and out of the cancer center in literally MINUTES! A first! Easy when you don't need anything but two quick shots in the belly.
We had grabbed some wonderful gift cards to Zoes and Newks, thinking that's what we'd have for lunch but realized it was too cold for salad or "non hot" foods...so SWEN was the destination.
Then it took HOURS to warm up, even by the fire and with my red power blanket wrapped around my feet. For a girl struggling with her inner thermostat, anyway, I thought I'd never get warm, but finally did.
Now I see that the sun is very deceiving as it is still cold outside and I need to venture to the cancer center again in about an hour.
Other than that, things are progressing as "to be expected". I might have good blood days (red) but still get that chemo tired feeling. One just never knows.
Did enjoy a short marathon of "White Collar" on USA network the other day. Yeah, I had thought Neal Cafferty (main character's name) might just be a little too "pretty boy" from the previews I had seen but have decided that I was WRONG. I just wish the show came on at 8 instead of 9. I'm usually snoozing pretty hard by 9!
Sorry, I've just seemed to be allergic to my computer lately. If I open it it means that I should read, or respond, or just relate something, all of which I haven't seemed to want to do much of.
Remember, it isn't you....it is just me, going through this strange new experience.
I had a good week where my appetite picked up, with desires for specific tastes, which were met with great delight! I have seen same said appetite decrease so that I can make three meals out of one sometimes, which has been a tad beneficial for my back side!
This week has been a bit of a switchover to "sort of queasy/I need a zofran" and the search for good liquid refreshment, not of an alcoholic variety. The old taste buds had sort of screwed around with soft drink tastes, water isn't so fun, so I'm not sure what I need/want. Limeade? Cranapple?
I know I need a lot more of it, whatever it is, as well as having the need for a heated vat of the most luxurious body cream I can find. And I'm talking BATHTUB sized vat since my skin has turned to tissue paper and I need to just sit in this tub all day, maybe with and IV of Atarax. Now that would be just a little bit of HEAVEN!!!!
This is the last week of four day visits to CTC....then next week, if I'm not in the hospital, it will be just a two day visit.
Hope all my buddies at Cottontail Village have a great show this coming weekend! This is so weird, the first time in seven years I haven't been. I should be loading my car and going up there tomorrow afternoon but just not going to happen.
And, Mary-Keeley has a big birthday coming up on Sunday! This cancer shit has smashed all our original plans for her birthday....a visit to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D.....a Mad Hatter's party for her friends and is threatening to mess with Plan B...a quiet evening at home with steaks and some homemade crepes with Nutella, very French-y.
So, if y'all want to do some praying, pray for me to be able to stay at home through this Sunday!