Ironing it out

First, the good news – the bone marrow came back clear. No sign of cancer.

So that means:

  • No sign in bone marrow
  • No sign in spinal fluid
  • No sign in the chest CT
  • No sign from the full-body MRI
  • Still waiting on the genetic typing on the biopsy

Now, the bad news – my blood sample was a little too low on the red blood cells. Not enough to cancel the start of chemo, but enough to classify me as slightly anemic. That means putting more iron in my diet. Beef. Broccoli. Yes!


Fun fact: Broccoli has just as much iron as spinach. Spinach got a big boost around World War II, when it was deemed to have ten times the iron as other green vegetables. This is why Popeye always ate his spinach. Turns out that was the product of a decimal error that was not corrected for several decades. Say Amen!

That’s not to say that broccoli isn’t involved in its own issues of truthiness.

When I went in to order my dinner, I asked about the picture menu, where there appears to be approximately 200% more broccoli in the Sesame Chicken than in the Chicken with Broccoli.

“It’s not like that. It’s just a garnish.”

Irony, indeed.

Why I’m not vomiting

I am on a lot of anti-nausea medications, and in one instance, it was on me.

This is a portable, disposable, self-contained pump. On a timer.

It is supposed to deliver its payload about a day after I leave the clinic. There are many patients who drive in from out of state, and getting this second boost is critical, and can be a pain in the butt when travel is involved.

The device is glued on, and activated by the staff. It clicks eight times, jabs you with a tiny needle, inserts a tiny tube, then retracts the needle. Then it sits there, and bides its time. It’s very similar to the automated insulin pumps that you’ve seen diabetics wear, that look like a beeper. Except this one is portable and disposable.

After 26 hours, it beeps and blinks and starts oozing out its payload over 45 minutes. And then it is done. You peel it off, and go on about your business.

Status report

Yes, I am on top of my meds. Yes, I have gotten a lot of sleep and have tried my best to stay hydrated. I have some food, and I crave some chocolate. But hey, there is very little to complain about.

There is the bruising. No getting around that. I am getting a lot better about the needles, I suppose. Some have asked if I will get a port. My doctor only resorts to that when he runs out of veins to exploit.

There is still the uncertainty around McMurray, and when my surgeon can exile him from me. But that date will start to crystallize on the calendar soon.

And then there is the absurdity of being told by a medical doctor that I need to increase my iron intake…

…and they wouldn’t let me use my flexible spending card.

Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers and comments. I’m learning a lot, and I hope you are too.

We’re kicking McMurray’s ass together.

18 thoughts on “Ironing it out”

  1. I never got puke sick, either, but I got very anemic and then developed neutropenia. Then! Ended up with C.diff. So, the road is rutted and bumpy. The scans and labs sound terrific! I love ya, Ike! Roll Tide!

  2. Just a little aside, from my pregnancy-related anemia days: Chocolate Frosted Mini Wheats have 90% of your RDU of iron per serving. And they’re chocolate.

  3. So happy about your test results! I’ve been anemic on and off a lot, and it sucks but it’s also manageable. The antiemetic medication sounds like a huge blessing. Glad that you’re taking care of yourself. Hugs and prayers!

  4. Well, I learned quite a few things here – and now I’ll never look at spinach the same. Liar.

    Keep up the great work. Happy, healthy vibes coming at you from up north.

  5. Blood geek here: make sure you are not mixing calcium with your iron intake. They have the same ionic bond, but calcium will kick iron’s ass, to be blunt (which is why you like me).
    Get some rest and figure out your “bad” day. For two of my friends, it was day 4. Everyone is different.
    Sending lots of white blood cells and good thoughts!

  6. Whew! Happy to hear those good test results Ike.
    Be sure to eat all the chocolate you want. It’s very important for well-being.
    Fuck off McMurray.

  7. Sounds like a tough regimen but glad the results so far are positive. Hope there will be more good news to come.

  8. Pithy as always.
    Sometimes I feel like I know you better than so many others. I’m proprietary like that. Keep me posted. I’ll keep reading.

  9. I was about to make the same warning about the iron and calcium as well, learned that with my surgery last October.
    Prayers for you!


  10. I’ve been slightly anemic my entire life. Jus born that way. You’ll know if you start getting low when the thought of chewing ice seems like Heaven.

    Prayers to you!

  11. Daniel and I are following your journey and sending all kinds of juju and prayers. We are here for anything and would love to help in any way you want or need. Side funny: I’m learning a BUTTLOAD about science from you. 😛 (sorry if that was crass. But you’re a fascinating specimen. And you know we adore you to pieces!)

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