This word I like... We architect our life...
A song, a sigh... developing words that linger...
Through fields of green, through open eyes... It's for us to see.
Interanimate: To animate or inspire mutually

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day +46 Avoid the Bug, Getting About, The Bill

News: I added a side bar called 'Blood Counts' where I'll report the values of my 3 stem cell lines; white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (hemoglobin HGB), and platelets (PLAT). I get these numbers twice a week and still find them a great indicator of how well my new stem cells are grafting. They are still all headed up into their respective normal ranges!

Avoid the Bug.
Yay! I survived my first real test against the bug! Somehow I did not catch the bug that made my family so miserable the week of Feb 11-17. At this time everyone is mostly back to normal. I guess all the hand washing, constant sanitizing of everything touched, and wearing a good respirator when close to people worked well. Thanx to Cathie, Dylan and Maddie for their diligence. I was a prime candidate to catch the virus since my immune system is so weak.
At tomorrow morning's semiweekly appointment I expect the doctor to start cutting back the immune suppressant (anti rejecting) drug I've been getting. I've been taking four 1 Mg capsules of Tacrolimus twice a day. They'll cut that down to 7 per day and then maybe lose 1 more capsule every week or two. Without that drug, my new immune system will be stronger against viruses, bacteria, and nematodes.

Getting About.
This last week I've noticed a marked difference in my energy level. I've spent far less time in the recliner etching a permanent pocket in the cushion with my now-little butt. I've been going for walks and short shopping trips with my Dad and Cathie. When I go to a store I will go at odd hours when few people are around. Being outside is always preferable to inside because air circulation means less chance of breathing in possible bug-containing vapors. However, I still wear my mask. I ordered 10 new masks via the internet. They are rated N95, filtering out 95% of airborne particles. I have hand sanitizer stored everywhere in the house and cars. On walks, when I have to climb small hills I am noticing that I am not as out of breath as I used to be. When I get back I don't feel like I have to plop in a chair and veg for a couple hours, or take a nap. Strength is gradually returning. As my hemoglobin rises and the effects of the January chemo wear off I'm sure I'll feel better and better. I really feel like I may actually join the living again. I cant tell you how different I feel now than the middle of January. I've been home now for exactly 4 weeks.

The Bill.
Here's the deal. If you ever need the kind of treatments I've been getting in 2008 make sure you are insured or be ready to sell your house, your car, and anything else you may have available. As much as I've griped about insurance of all types over the years, I have to take it all back. Premiums are worth every penny spent when the unthinkable happens. Your house burns down, you cause an auto accident with serious injury, you get a rare illness, etc... Over the years one tends to start thinking one is immune to disasters. It always happens to someone else. Why keep paying for all these insurance policies and getting little back? Silly me. Of course now I am a hot potato. I could never get private medical insurance again. If you try to get medical insurance for just yourself and family you have to supply your complete medical records. 3 years ago I had an unblemished medical record. One year later that changed radically. If I were to apply for private medical insurance now, because I was self employed for instance, in California ALL the insurance providers would decline to insure me. There are a few states that prohibit such 'cherry picking' applicants based upon medical history. Now, I'd have to move to a state like Massachusetts if I wanted to be self employed and medically insured.
So here is something else to thank you all for. All types of insurance are based upon those that have 'no current need' helping those who DO have a need. Some of you may never have serious medical problems yet you will always pay high insurance premiums, often paid by your employer. Your high premiums are helping those people who have been stricken, like me. We all support each other in this way. So, you have helped me out not only with your inspirational messages, but also with my medical bills. I appreciate it.
Having said all that, I still think this country needs a lot of reform to reduce medical costs for everyone. Start with limiting malpractice payouts! Malpractice insurance premiums are a huge part of the high costs of medical care today. For example, many unblemished doctors are now paying over $100,000 per year in malpractice insurance premiums. They are passing this expense on to their patients.


SoftwareEngineer said...

Good to hear about the increased energy! And the cool blood stats.

I agree about the malpractice stuff.

Still praying for you guys,


Anonymous said...

I love hearing this good news!! I feel like my energy level is going down... Its getting hard to get up and walk around. I am glad you are still doing and will be doing so great! Love the great news... keep getting better.
Love always Shelli

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear about your really good blood counts and your increased energy levels. Finally everything is looking very good. Keep it up.
K & L

Anonymous said...

Hey Jim, so glad to hear you survived the family bug - must've been hard on everybody. We were worried for you last week.

Great to hear that you are able to get up & about more too. Pretty soon you'll be jogging round the neighborhood!

Can't wait for you guys to be back in social circulation!!

love to you all,


Duane said...

So glad to see you're doing well, Jim! And I really like the cool blood counts chart! Very creative.

Anonymous said...

Good news! So glad to hear of your increased blood counts and of you increased energy level. What a great way to enter into the Spring/Easter season, with renewed strength and hope. You are on your way. Hope to see you soon.
K & L