Wednesday, August 28, 2013

...what's a platelet?

....what's it mean to you?
.......what's it mean to ME? 

According to google image, this is a clump of platelets. According to my cell phone, they look more like this:
They kind of the color of those toffee candies.

So what are platelets? Platelets make of part of your blood - just like red and white blood cells. A platelet is important because they make your bloog clot. With less platelets, you bruise very easily and bleed from simple things (like using a hard tooth brush). For example, when my platelets are low, I can't shave or do anything that could cause any kind of cuts. 

A normal range of platelets is 150,000-400,000. Most people have plenty of platelets (which is why you don' bruise just because you kneeled down or because someone hugged you to hard - hello handprints). But certain medicine, like chemo, can cause your platelets to drop. This is because chemo targets fast dividing cells. When most people talk about platelets, they drop the zeros. That's why you'll hear me say that I need them up by 100 - I mean 100,000. 

I am on two chemos - BCNU and Avastin. Let's ignore avastin for today - it has it's own complications and risks. But, BCNU (carmustine) can wreck havoc on the platelets. A typical "chemo" cycle is 6-8 weeks, depending on how long it takes your body to recover. The "low point" or "nadir" occurs in weeks 4-5, when your numbers are at their worst. 

So, for the last two weeks, my platelets have been barely hanging on. The doctors like to give your body as much time as they can to regenerate on it's own (every time you pump it full of freebees it says "oh, next time i'll wait for that"). But, at the same time, it's important to start recovering so that we can do another round (I know - RIGHT!). 

When my platelet number went even lower yesterday to 21 (remember, that's 21,000), the doctor decided to transfuse. Today, I headed to the local medical center at 7 am and got rechecked. We're at 75!! Go platelets! Party on! 

That's only the first part though. Now, we need to draw tomorrow and see them go up. Otherwise my body still isn't doing it's job. So tonight, add a prayer for the platelet parade that I need in my blood stream! 

This morning praying for platelets, waiting for some results!

Do you want to help? Luckily, I don't need specific platelets - though you can always donate. BUT my four year old friend Ezra DOES. Ezra is my coworker's son who is undergoing some major chemo to wipe out his immune system and rebuild it (my humbly naive summary). You can check out their blog and, importantly, you can donate platelets and blood right in Midtown Manhattan at Memorial Sloan! All the information is here on the 8/19 archive: 

Onto the fun stuff...

I am so overwhelmed and humbled by the support of my to-see list. I cannot put into words the gratitude I feel towards all my friends and people that I don't even know. 

This weekend, my dad and I were able to go down to Baltimore and see the inner harbor/aquarium. But first, on Saturday, we tackled the most important thing - smashing CRABS:

Love me some Maryland Old Bay and crabs. I'll forsure be shellfish if I can get my hands on more crabs anytime soon. 

On Sunday,  we had brunch at Miss Shirley's. Holy Moly Miss Shirley, I didn't know I needed french toast cinnamon rolls - but I did. 


We met Claire for the aquarium! Little did I know, Claire and my dad were old friends. I was totally oblivious - especially with the "nice to meet you" handshake.

We were hoping to make it out to eat at Phillip's but my energy was just too low after walking through the aquarium. This chemo is a rough one - and I slept most of the way home. Luckily, I see some future trips to Baltimore happening and I am sure there will be opportunities! 

On the docket for this weeken? Well... it's pretty exciting. It is definitely a big ticket item on my list - CELINE DION in VEGAS!!!! I am going with my mom and my "aunt" (my mom's college roommate).

Stay tuned.... 

1 comment:

Chelsea said...

I can't wait to see hear about the concert!!!! How fun! I hope you don't mind if I share your blog. XO