Sunday, March 16, 2014

All Systems Go, Houston

I love that I can see my lab results online. 

I was pleased to hear on Friday that my follow-up rituximab infusion lab work was right on target: my "good" whites (neutrophils) were normal, and my "bad" whites (lymphocytes) were low. This is good news since the overall goal of B-cell depletion therapy using rituximab is to kill off a B lymphocyte with a specific receptor leaving the rest of my blood cells intact.

You can read more about these blood cells and lab work here.

Along with eating healthy fresh foods, getting adequate rest, moderate exercise, and avoiding obviously germy people, I'm also trying to be mindful of my goals for this medication; which are to create lab values exactly as were reported Friday in hopes that some positive thinking will do something, anything, to avoid a massive neutrophil exodus in the next few weeks.

The last time my neutros took a hike and the word went out in my family that I was missing some white blood cells, my kids procured a few for me. Awwwww.

Cutttttteeeee plushy and felted white blood cells. These kids think of the darndest things. 

Woo hoo! Two more whites ready in reserve. Not sure how they'd squeeze through capillaries, though...

I've realized that I'm a visual learner by and large, and slapping up this excellent chart that illustrates how blood cells are created inside me and from which cells they originate is a useful tool in aiding the direction of my mindfulness. Because if I'm hoping for something, I like to hope in specifics.

Anyone that has tried to make sense of a white blood cell count and differential lab result realizes that hematopoiesis (formation of blood components) is a very tricky process and results in not simply red blood cells and white blood cells, but dozens of specialized cells.  In the hopes that by repeated viewing I will eventually retain some of this information regarding my very busy bone marrow, I taped a printout of the chart in direct line of sight when I'm at my desk. So every time I look up from my computer, boom. There it is: Hematopoiesis in Humans.

With these lab results and given that I'm feeling Reasonably Well (sorry, couldn't resist), it appears that my second in the cycle of rituximab infusions will happen on Tuesday as planned. Yessssss.

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