Friday, January 15, 2010

Epic Week

Or should I say, legendary?

Just had to work my new favorite show, How I Met Your Mother, in there somehow.

I had a super fun week! I was at the hospital Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, AND today!

Don't worry, I am fine, it was just for routine checkups and tests. Tuesday I had an appointment with my doctor, Wednesday I had an upper GI scope (read: they stuck a tube down my throat to look for GVHD) and colonoscopy, Thursday I had a PET/CT to check on my gut leukemia (there shouldn't be any), and today was another checkup with my doctor. They're keeping a close eye on me because I might have some GVHD cooking. Well, that's what they say, but I know they're really scheduling me for two visits a week because I'm so charming and amusing. I brighten up their days.

That's what I tell myself, at least.

For both the scope things and the PET/CT you have to take these preparatory drinks. For the PET/CT it's barium sulfate. It looks kind of like milk but more watery, and it has this nasty kind of chalky taste that they try to cover up with a little vanilla. You usually have to drink two bottles of it, but this time I told them I was having a lot of nausea and they only made me drink one bottle. Apparently they can still get a good picture with only one bottle of the stuff in you. So why on earth do they make you take two? From now on I am always going to tell them I'm nauseous so I only have to drink one bottle.

The GI scope and the colonoscopy were to look for GVHD and another virus, CMV, which is something that almost everyone has and can cause problems if it goes active. I thought I would be able to avoid a colonoscopy for another 25 years, but no such luck. To prep for the colonoscopy you have to drink this stuff to clean you out called "Go Litely" that comes as a powder in a huge gallon jug. You mix it with water and you can add flavor packets: cherry, orange, lemon lime, or pineapple. I chose lemon lime, thinking the acidic flavors would help cover up the taste of the Go Litely, which was certain to be terrible. Well, I don't know if the other flavors would have worked better, but the lemon lime didn't cover up anything, it just gave a sort of lemony overtone to a really gross flavor. I got through about half of the jug and then I vomited and didn't take anymore because I couldn't keep it down. Apparently it wasn't a huge deal because they were able to do the colonoscopy anyway.

Things I learned this week that I never wanted to learn: barium sulfate tastes better than Go Litely.

No definitive results back from those tests. My doctor thinks the PET/CT looks good, but he isn't a radiologist so we have to wait for the official word.

Last week I had a bone marrow biopsy. I am so glad I started getting sedation for those. I used to just do it with a local anesthetic, but let me tell you, being knocked out when you get a gigantic needle shoved into your hip bone to suck out the marrow is a really good thing. Especially since some of the doctors seem to have trouble getting into my bones. I drink too much milk, I guess. Anyway, that one came back with no leukemia and 100% second donor cells. So he is comfortably set up with a nice, healthy marrow. That's good news.


Lauren said...

i love How I Met Your Mother - i would watch it online while i was getting chemo.

also, at the children's hosp where i was treated, they mixed the barium with fruit punch & it was SO much better than mixing it with water...

Leesa said...

WOW!!! 100% and no leukemia... So, I'm assuming that's a VERY good thing, right?!!

I'm surprised that they didn't give you grape as a choice... or ice cream flavor.. hahaha!

Glad to here that those things are OVER for now...

Have a nice weekend, Mira...

I'm thinking of you my dear!

L said...

I haven't had to drink the stuff for the CT scan or the colonoscopy, but my husband is an x-ray technician and has to give it to people. He also says he often cleans up their vomit afterwards as well, so you're not alone in finding it disgusting!

Zhu said...

I have heard a lot of things about barium and all of them could be summed up in a word: YUCK!!!

I can't believe you had to go through all the worse tests this week. Really, you deserve a SPA day when this is all behind you. Actually, a week in a SPA with gorgeous man massaging your feet and your back, preferably in an exotic country.

au soleil levant said...

Lauren - I am so happy I finally got into HIMYM. I watched almost the whole first two seasons while I was in for transplant and can't get enough! I've had scans in both peds and adults and in peds they mixed whatever they gave me with lemonade and that was pretty tasty. Not sure if it was the barium sulfate though because it was clear. Not sure what the difference is.

I think I still owe you an email about the assistant program, btw.

Leesa - yep, it's all very good news. I think the problem with the flavor is that there just wasn't enough of it. They should have included a few packs of each flavor. I don't know that it would have helped that much, but it would have been something!

L - eeewwwww! I have a new respect for techs now. I didn't realize that they were constantly dealing with people vomiting up barium sulfate. At least it isn't only me!

au soleil levant said...

Zhu - yes please! Maybe that's what I should do when my hundred days are up, go blow money at a spa.

Monique said...

that is LEGEND.... wait for it.... ARY.

My mom just had a colonoscopy a few weeks ago too. And it sounded horrendous.

Whenever the day comes that I go in for mine, I'll take note on the lemon lime.

I hope you to start to feel better and can go back to boring (or super eventful like in France) life soon!

Erica said...

Glad to hear that things are progressing well !! (Sorry about the yucky stuff they made you drink for the colonoscopy though).

HIMYM is a great show. I remember watching the first season and all my French friends kept telling me how bad it was. I persevered, and now they all LOVE the show. Take that, frenchies !!

Barbara said...

Hi Mira,

You sound strong and if that TV show keeps you laughing, keep it going !

BTW, I'm totally in OUTER SPACE when it comes to new shows & faces. Let's say that any series that dosen't make the pick and get distributed in France, I probably don't know.And the show that I appreciate from the States are all dubbed in French & I watch them like that.

There could be more fun things to drink than what you had, but for the good cause.You'll be able to start again with the yummy ice cream/ milk shakes when it's over !!

Catch you soon et à bientôt !

Animesh said...

good news indeed! yay!

Mary Community Farm Kitchen said...

Oh what a drag. But at least the results are good so far.... but still, blergh on all the tests, nasty drinks, pills, etc. I'm thinking of you of course...hopefully there won't be any nasty GVHD discomfort... chin up, babe.

au soleil levant said...

Monique - awesome, thanks for playing along with my HIMYM quote game. Hopefully by the time you have to get a colonoscopy they'll have come up with something better!

Erica - thanks! of course the French didn't like HIMYM at first. Good for you for making them see the light!

Barbara - I still feel out of the loop when it comes to shows and movies in the US, like missing out on two years put me permanently out of the loop. One good thing though is that it cured me of my old obsession with celebrity gossip. It takes too much effort to keep up with in a foreign country. I'm really glad I no longer care about that kind of thing.

Animesh - thanks!

Mary - thanks! It is weird that you have to take all of this terrible stuff to find out if you're still healthy.