I had my labs drawn on October 25. Everything went up! With the exception of my platelets, everything was in the low-normal range. My platelets were 120; they are slowly making their way to the norm of 150. It will be interesting to see what my labs show on Nov. 10. There seems to be a pattern of my numbers being higher when I get my labs done at Logan Regional as opposed to LDS.
Overall, I am feeling well. I do tire easily; however, I push myself through it so I don't stay in bed too much. My energy has improved. I have issues with nausea frequently, but not as much as I used to. Every month or two I have an episode of being really sick to my stomach for @ 3 days. My latest episode was last week. I am always thrilled when it ends! My latest joy has been working on getting back into a regular exercise routine. I know my doctors were excited that I gained some weight, but I was not! I know a lack of consistent exercise is my biggest problem.
I have had a very difficult time getting back into a good exercise routine for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that my dear friend and running/walking/workout buddy Anna moved. She moved to Colorado while I was in the hospital and I have missed her terribly! Actually, when my mom and I drove around the corner at Maverik on our way home for good, my first thought was "Anna is gone!" I cried a little bit then and have a few times since. Anyway, exercising is much easier when you have a buddy. How lucky I am to have my friend Carmen. She has been a good friend of mine for years and has been helping me get back into gear. I am so grateful for her encouragement, motivation, support, understanding, and everything else. I just love her guts!
Volleyball once or twice a week has also been helpful and so much fun! My first couple of weeks were rough: I couldn't serve the ball over the net overhand or underhand, my balance was really bad so I had a difficult time following the ball, my body didn't move when and where I wanted it to, my timing was poor, and I couldn't really jump to hit the ball when at the net. Oh how frustrated I was! Luckily, I have been able to work through the frustration and realize the progress being made. I finally served the ball over the net, overhand!, on the short court. Eventually, I served the ball over the net, underhand, on the long court. Now, or at least last time I played, I could serve the ball overhand on the long court. Such a victory! Everyone cheered and it made me feel great. My balance and timing have improved as well. I can even jump a little and hit at the net. I recently went to a doctor to have my knee looked at (I will explain in a moment) and he told me I was fine to play volleyball. Today I went to physical therapy for my knee. My therapist told me I shouldn't play volleyball. I am choosing to listen to my doctor.
Now for my lovely knee. I remember my knee hurting a little before my leukemia. It hasn't bothered me for the last year. Possibly because I have been bedridden! As I have worked around the house, gone running (very little), gone up and down stairs more, and tried lunges at aerobics I have noticed an intense pain in my knee. It doesn't throb after, it doesn't swell, and it doesn't hurt to touch - but, oh how it hurts when I have any forward-pressure motion (for lack of a better explanation). I got an appointment with Dr. King last week. My x-rays looked good - spacing was fine. My range of motion was okay and I didn't have pain or tenderness when he did his exam. Dr. King feels that the issue is related to muscle atrophy. Makes sense to me. The cure is to strengthen the muscles that support my knee. Physical therapy it is!
My first physical-therapy appointment was today. My physical therapist (PT) is a nice enough guy. Not very personable, but nice. His exam left me feeling like a wimp, a little discouraged, but hopeful and full of insight. He watched me walk and said I favor my right leg. He felt my knee caps as I moved my knee. He checked my flexibility and took some measurements. He checked my strength and I realized how much stronger my right leg is than my left. Weird! In my soccer days I played left wing and kicked with my left foot. My PT had me do some motions on a small stepper - holy ouch! The verdict: my quad muscles are not supporting my knee (atrophy), especially my inner quad muscle, resulting in my knee cap shifting (intense pain). Also, my left hip is very weak. *** Light Bulb On *** Ding, ding, ding! Can you say hematoma; i.e., the abnormal buildup of blood in an organ or other tissue of the body, caused by a break in a blood vessel. Hello!!! Remember those days? Oh how well I do! Massive bleed in my left hip, horrible swelling in my legs and feet, bruised from left hip to left toes, walker, pain, pain, pain, morphine, pain pump, pain, etc. I completely get my current problems: stairs are still a little tough, balance is still off, my right leg supports me better, my left leg gets fatigued and sore faster than my right. I am glad I get it now and for once will be sticking with my physical therapy. ***sigh***
Really, life is good. Not too long ago: I couldn't walk up or down the stairs alternating feet. I couldn't get out of the bathtub by myself and actually fell several times. I had to use the electric cart at the store. Wherever I went I had to wear a mask that covers most of my face. I couldn't wear my contacts. I slept a lot. I ate around 900 calories a day because I couldn't handle anymore. I hated chocolate and anything sweet (I wouldn't mind that one now). I couldn't live at home. I had to go to clinic in SLC at least once, often more, every week. Yup, life is definitely good.