Day +134: You just call on me brother, when you need a hand…

It’s been another week of doctor visits. My transplant doctor gave me the okay to get my broken hand fixed so I had another consultation with the orthopedic hand surgeon at Johns Hopkins yesterday. For newcomers here, I fell Christmas Eve and managed to separate my right pinkie from the rest of my hand. The doctor took fresh x-rays yesterday. The picture of my hand was interesting: the small circle where my little finger should attach to my hand plate was clearly visible with my pinkie, unfortunately, resting beside it instead of atop where it belongs. To repair, he would have to cut open my hand, cut some more to release it from the tissue binding it in its current position, then reattach it with a pin to hold it in place. I’d have to wear a splint on my hand and forearm for six weeks while it healed. I asked about infection. He said in “normal” patients the risk is fairly low, maybe 1-2%, but because of my compromised immune system, he estimated my risk to be closer to 10%. We discussed my Vidaza treatments and my fluctuating blood counts and both decided it would be wiser to wait until I’m no longer getting chemo. I’ve gotten used to working around the oddly angled finger and to the peculiar sensation that all solid objects I pick up with my right hand feel like they have dents, so waiting another 10 months should not be too bad. The only time it hurts is when I misuse it.

On the way home from Hopkins, we picked up the results from last week’s CMP (comprehensive metabolic panel) to take with me to the gastroenterologist today. I noticed elevated liver numbers:

Bilirubin 1.7 (normal 0.0 – 1.2)
AST 58 (normal 0-40)
ALT 54 (normal 0-40)

My hematologist emailed me (I’m so lucky to have doctors who will communicate via email) and asked me to stop by for a retest this week. I sent last week’s results to my transplant nurse practitioner at Hopkins, and she emailed me that she was not too concerned now but she wants to monitor closely with blood tests every two weeks. My gastroenterologist said essentially the same thing and asked that copies of the test results be sent to him, as well. I was retested today and should get the results tomorrow or Friday.

My visit to the gastroenterologist was uneventful. Everything is essentially unchanged from when I saw him last month except that my dry mouth seems worse. Based on the fact that I have no difficulty or pain swallowing and no evidence of thrush, he still thinks my difficulties are related to my medications. Since the antibiotics and antivirals are necessary right now, there’s not much to be done except watch and wait. He gave me some Nexium samples to try in place of the Prevacid for a change of pace and asked me to phone him in a week to talk about the results of my liver function retest.

The Vidaza treatments week before last seemed to hit me harder this time. I was more tired and achy until the past couple of days. I’m starting to feel better again. From a transplant perspective, everything is still looking great. My 6 month follow-up and bone marrow biopsy are scheduled at Johns Hopkins for June 2. Time is racing by!

We’re experiencing our usual Maryland spring weather, sunny and high 80’s one or two days followed by several days of 50’s and rain with not much in between. However, the trees are finally greening again and the spring flowers are popping up all over, very pretty.

I’ll give you some more time on day 127’s tagline. Hint: it’s a Weird Al song.


  1. Be careful you don’t “lean” on anything that will further hurt the pinkie. Wish I could be there for you to lean on. Love you, me

  2. I knew this tagline for once. “Lean on Me”. Hold on while I Google the singer/songwriter……… aha…Bill Withers. Speaking of Google, have you seen their new trivia thing each day?

  3. Hey Kids whatsup?? havent had time to come to the library in a while but Im hear now. Uncle Cracker did another version of the song a few years ago but I like the original!!! Hope all is going well in your mouth and tummy and well
    everywhere else too. hope to see you soon.
    best wishes and happy spring Dana

  4. Enjoy your Spring! The flowers here are pretty. Getting very tired of all the rain. Two days this week were 3″ and 2 3/4 ” of rain. Plus several with less than an inch. I don’t even count them any more. Getting quite a lot again today.

    Happy Easter!!!

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