Okay so my day started out just like any other day. I had a monthly doctor’s appointment. You know the one, I get an Xgeva shot (the one for my bones) and get my port cleaned and they do a lab panel to make sure all my numbers are okay. Expect they weren’t all good. They were so bad, in fact that the nurse thought the blood sample they took was not a good sample. I know that many of you haven’t been around blood numbers so I will try to explain. The numbers they were looking at were my red blood cells. The normal level would be around 12. Last month my red blood cells dropped to 7. While this is lower than the normal range it still isn’t too concerning. It does cause one to feel fatigued and short of breath. My doctor warned me to report any of those issues. When they ran my numbers yesterday my red blood cells were at 5.3- way below normal. I was told I would need to go to the hospital to get a transfusion. I jumped into my car and drove to the hospital thinking it wouldn’t take very long. Boy was I wrong! I got to admitting at 1 pm. The nurses all wanted to see the lady with the red blood cells of 5.3. They thought I would be in a wheelchair. Okay so they don’t know me very well!
I sat in admitting for 2 hours until someone came in and started admitting me. Finally they took me to my room around 4. I realized that I wasn’t going to be home any time soon. Then I had to wait for them to find a match and then check it against my blood. I guess they wanted to make sure it was a perfect match?? It wasn’t until 8pm that they started the transfusion. Of course I hadn’t planned on going to the hospital so I had nothing with me. I was so bored!! I was told that I would need 2 units and that each unit would take around 3 hours to put in. When they started the transfusion they had to stay in the room and monitor it for 15 minutes to make sure my body didn’t have a bad reaction. Here is a picture of how big the bags or units were.
The first unit did take three hours which meant it was around 11 that it finished. I was able to take a short nap however if you have ever been in the hospital you know that they wake you up every hour to take your blood pressure and temperature. They started the second bag around 11:30 and once again they had to observe me for the first 15 minutes. Then when nothing happened they let me go back to sleep. The second bag finished up around 2:30 in the morning. The nurse said I could go home when they were done or I could wait until the morning. As much as I wanted to go home, I decided to wait until the morning. I was exhausted and didn’t want to try to drive home (about a 45 minute trip). What I didn’t realize was that they would still wake me up every hour to do blood pressure and temperature. UGH! So I really didn’t get much sleep. I had a really wonderful nurse and through all of this she made me smile and laugh. She woke me up at 6 to once again to vitals and I decided I was ready to go home.
So I am sure everyone wants to know how I feel. Well I am tired but I feel really good. I had always heard that after a transfusion people say they didn’t realize how bad they really felt. That was certainly true for me. Before the transfusion I had a really bad cough. It seemed that each time I drew in a breath it would cause me to cough a little (shortness of breath I am told now). I also seem to have more energy. I am still catching up on sleep but the overwhelming feeling of fatigue is gone. I go back to do labs on Tuesday so hopefully the transfusion will work and my numbers will be closer to normal. The plan is to hold off on the Afinitor until my numbers are normal and then start on a lower dose to see if my body can handle that. I hope that it can because my doctor seems to think that it is working. So for the next week I am going to take it easy and not overdo it!