Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Round 1: Chemo vs Beth

I am at the end of my first bag of chemo (1 down and 6 more to go). I know I am biased, but am going to call this round in favor of me. I had no fevers, nausea or other side effects (yeah). I am almost giddy with excitement that when this bag is done I get to take a much awaited shower.

Also, positive today was I found something very edible from the hospital menu tonight and was given some good tips on what to steer clear from from my friend, Matt, which is also much appreciated.

Today has felt very busy. Lots of the others on my support team have spent quality time in my room. The Pharmacist has come both days for long discussions because I am taking such a cornecopia of drugs (and also I suspect it is because this is the first time he has filled this chemo drug script and is curious on how I react). The chemo drug I am on is called Cladribine. I have never had a pharmacist come to my room at the hospital and did not know they even did this. Tune in tomorrow for an update on when we will know if it is working. It is on our list to ask my doctor tomorrow am during rounds.

The dietician also came by for a long stay with many questions and advice and good info the program here. I was surprised to learn that this hospital has its own dietician for this unit (!). Learned today that Cincinnati Children's Hospital started a bone marrow transplant unit about 8 years ago and has built the program to be the #3 rankend on in the country. The person who built the program at Children's is now at UC. UC use to be part of the Health Alliance in Cincinnati which limited the participaing hospitals (Christ, Jewish and University) to just one bone marrow unit which was at Jewish. Apparently when the Alliance feel apart UC could get into the bone marrow game and they hired the lead guy from Children's to built this new unit, and he pulled top talent in from across the country. Literally everything started up last month. So between being back from China, and this fantastic new program with a great experienced team, feels like good timing if I were to get luekemia.

Getting back to the dietician I am on my third special diet recommended by doctors in a week, but given she has her master's in this area, and she talked everything with my doctor, am going with her recommendations on what to do and not to do.

A few tips I picked up today are...
- As long as food has been fully cooked and then put in the refrigerator within 2 hours of prep it should last for 7 days.
- Lunch meat is a frequent carrier of bacteria (especially listeria) so avoid it.
- Berries are not on the okay list with a low white blood count. They have a lot of bacteria (which is why they go bad quickly) and are hard to clean.
- Grapes are on the no go list as well (they are covered with lots of mold).

Most of the other restrictions are familiar to me from being pregnant abroad or living in China.
- No soft cheeses.
- Wash all veggies thoroughly (preferrable to cook them first). {Geneva friends, no mention of no fresh salads because of the cats roaming the fields but assume the washing well covers this base :)}
- No sushi.
- Nothing that is not pasteurized.
- Wash the outside of fruits you are peeling (e.g., melons, apples, etc.) before you cut them.
- Fully cook hamburgers.
- For steaks thoroughly cook the outside which is what can come in contact and grow bacteria but you do not have to prepare everything well done.

Thanks again for all the offers to help. Chad and I really appreciate all the support. We are doing okay today. I am very sorry I have not been able to respond to people personally, but please know that we really appreciate each and every supportive note we have received and all the positive thoughts and prayers.

Chad is trying to get links on the blog set up to Hoxworth (blood bank) and Luekemia Lymphoma Society if people want to do a donation to help out the larger cause. We have been really impressed in what we have learned on the advances in cures for luekemia through research. I have also been really thankful for the blood and platelets that I am using. They truly are a life saving gift.

For all inquiring minds, Chad has also put up a link on hairy cell luekemia in case anyone wants to read more about it and you have not already googled or wikipedia'ed it. The last link is one we came across where Land's End does donations to Luekmeia Lymphoma Society for all your purchases through them. I myself just bought winter gear for the girls through them and was bummed we missed the chance. If you have yet to get coats, boats, snowpants, or anything else from them check out this link.

That's it for tonight. Will let you know how Round 2 goes.


  1. I've been thinking about you Beth. Just wanted to let you know I am reading your posts as a way to "stay in touch" even though it has been way too long since we have seen each other. Please know we are praying for you and your recovery and I am amazed at your strength as always. Hope you have a good night and every bag is like this one. You will beat this! Much love, Claudia

  2. Excellent advice on no soft cheeses and sushi. I intend to follow this advice in your honor. Except beer cheese. But that's not really cheese, I don't think.

    In all seriousness, here's to your victory in round two tomorrow. Get some rest.

  3. Beth
    The team is thinking and praying for you all.
    We are together here in Europe remembering previous trips with you.
    Hang in there and good to hear round one is with you...everyone who knows you would bet it would go that way!