January 18

Thursday afternoon, we learned the final results of my bone marrow analyses. Based on the cytogenetics and molecular genetics of my bone marrow, my subtype of AML (8;21 translocation) has an excellent prognosis for achieving complete remission after four cycles of intensive chemo, most likely with no need for any transplants unless my recovery the next couple weeks doesn’t go as expected. That means I have to go through three more months in the hospital, but I’ll have breaks in between where I can be at home. Yay!

Apart from the great news on Thursday, last week was especially tough on me physically. From Monday afternoon through some time early Friday, there was an unrelenting band of pain across my belly that kept me from sleeping at night and made me very cranky during the day. I was constantly nauseated and had no appetite, and my hands were so swollen that my skin got stretched too tight to knit/crochet at times (don’t laugh!). Wednesday morning I had a bad reaction to a blood transfusion: severe chills and shakes that required an opiate to relieve (which on the bright side allowed me to sleep pain-free all day), followed by a mild fever, which means that my blood transfusions now get an extra level of screening. The bright spots in my week were all the messages I got, receiving a beautiful banner of prayer flags from our friends at Sunset Co-op (Zoë and Griffin’s preschool) and other thoughtful gifts, and getting the best pixie cut ever on Thursday morning.

Thursday night I had a six-hour nose bleed that started at 10pm and (warning: grossness alert, you might consider skipping to the next paragraph, don’t say I didn’t warn you, here goes…) after four days of no bowel movements (thus the band of pain), diarrhea every 30–45 minutes. I’m not exaggerating. Luckily, many of you had recommended Downton Abbey, so I watched that in between bathroom trips, nurses coming in and out, packs of ice, constant pressure on my nose, and a platelet infusion. Half an hour after receiving platelets, my nose bleed stopped, I finished Season 1, and I passed out in exhaustion.

Friday morning I felt amazing. No more pain. Slight appetite. Hands less swollen. I spent the day snacking, knitting chemo caps for me and a blanket for Zoë, and watching Season 2. Then yesterday I had two really great hours with Alex and the kids. When I showered, I lost so much hair that I’ll need to go GI Jane at some point today, but at least I had a fresh chemo cap ready ;-)