April 16, 2011 at 1:01amI had no idea what to expect when going to the hematologist today. Oh, I knew they'd be drawing blood, but I had no idea what else they would do or, more importantly, if it would hurt.
Check-in was mostly normal - though they use a "tagging" system for their patients. Once you sign in, they give you a sticker with your name, your birth date and your doctor's name on it and you must wear this on your shirt while you are in the building. Odd, but ok. I happened to be wearing the FGC "Stay Alive, Don't Text and Drive" T-shirt, so I slapped the sticker on the phone, just below the skull and crossbones. At least -I- was amused.
Off to the back... onto the scale... whoot! I've lost another 3 pounds. Then I remembered I've been harfing up nearly everything I eat lately, so maybe that's not so good, but hey... I'll take what joy I can find these days.
Off to the vampire cave. I mean, the comfy chair with the nice big table things instead of arms. Or the chair would be comfy... if my feet would reach the floor! I am so short. But I digress.
First, vital signs. Slapped on the automatic bp cuff. No worries. Temp, ok. Pulse, ok. O2, ok. Cuff inflates... ouch! pinch pinch pinch... nurse... walks away. Wha? Invalid reading. Cuff deflates and inflates again... still no nurse. Ouchhhhhhhhh! I'm whimpering. Peter is asking if it's hurting. Uhm, yeah, it is. Different nurse person arrives. Glances at machine - still no reading - pays no attention to me when I try to tell her it's pinching badly, just hits the reset button on machine and walks out. Owwwwwwwwwwww... another inflation... I can feel my inner arm being caught in folds of the cuff... teary-eyed. First nurse comes back and asks if I'm ok. I say that the cuff is pinching. She says "oh" and looks at the machine. Waits. Machine reads pressure. It's high. DUH! She goes "ok" and rips off the cuff. I have lines of angry red bruises down my inner arm. She says "It really was pinching, wasn't it. Hmm." Then turns to other nurse person and starts going on about not being able to find a butterfly... ok, that's not good. They start searching everywhere... finally go to another room and she returns with one. She puts the tourniquet on, but it's very loose so the veins aren't popping up very well. She finally settles on one, swabs it, sticks me. I'm looking away because I don't care to watch the actual stab. Whimper. I ask, "did you get it?" "No. But I feel it, give me just a second." *needle wiggle, dig, dig, sharp-deep stab* "Owwww." "It's ok, I got it."
TWELVE vials of blood later... a pad of gauze and a bright pink elastic band holding it in place... I'm staggering to follow her to a room.
In the exam room. Filling out "new patient" paperwork packet. This is fun stuff. One of the questions is "describe your mood" I wrote: "pale green." I wonder if anyone actually reads this stuff.
Time passes. I need to find a restroom... peek out of the room, spot one, dash for it.
I return, having lost most of lunch, but feeling better. Peter tells me the doctor popped in moments after I left. Of course she did.
Doctor returns. She's very nice. And 7 months pregnant. She doesn't look it. I am mildly envious.
Good news! She reviewed my CT results from the test yesterday... and they are GOOD GOOD GOOD! The report says that the lymph nodes do not appear to be affected and that NO signs of spreading appear in the surrounding area. Now, that doesn't mean it hasn't gone through the wall of the uterus, but it definitely lifted a weight off my shoulders.
Everyone keeps asking me if I have abdominal pain. They look surprised when I tell them I do not.
The doctor had the results of the CBC already - they do that one in-house. She said, "oh, your hemoglobin IS very low. oh my!" I asked for the number. She said, "8.8." I said, "actually, that's pretty high!" This elicited several moments of confusion on her part until I explained that I'd been a 7.5 only last week and was functioning with it as low as a 4 just last year.
So, what does the hematologist do? Well, if I eventually do need chemotherapy, she'll be the one to administer it. Right there, in the office. But for now, she's concentrating on finding out if I have any clotting problems and working to get my hemoglobin levels up high enough for surgery. This means I'll be having IV iron administered. A "big dose" of iron, in fact. 2500ml worth. It will take 4-5 hours. She tells us that there's a 1 in 1000 chance of having a bad reaction to the IV iron, but they only see it once a year or so and they've already had theirs for this year. I think she was trying to get me to relax.
The 20th, I'll be back in her office getting Iron pumped into my veins. Within a week, she says, I will stop craving ice. Within two weeks I should be feeling -much- better as far as energy levels, dizziness and sleepiness are concerned. Within 4 weeks I should be doing great - because the red blood cells have a 28 day life cycle, so all the ones I'll have in 4 weeks will have been exposed to the higher levels of iron and will be nice and healthy. That's the theory, anyway.
My upcoming doctor schedule looks like this:
Wednesday, April 20, 8:30am, Iron IV
Friday, April 29, 8:45am, test results with hematologist
Friday, April 29, 1:00pm, pre-op with gyn-oncologist
Thursday, May 5, 9:45am, surgery
Oh, and somewhere in there I have to take two exams for Map Analysis (online), take the final exam for Geology (at FGC), post 50 maps on a map blog for Map Analysis (that's this weekend's project), get to Tallahassee to pick up a california king waterbed frame and standard mattress from a dear friend and ... call my mother. Oh, and I have to convince people that they do not need to travel miles and miles and miles just to come see me after surgery. Really, I'm out of it right after... and apparently I say silly things... but it's not worth it to make a trip all the way here to see. Unless you're looking to get a youtube video out of it. I am NOT suggesting anyone videotape me coming out of anesthesia. Stop it! Put the camera away and no one gets hurt.