To keep things interesting, I had an appointment with my transplant doctor this past Monday. I'm still on steroids, so Dr. K. is keeping a close eye on me. She commented on how my face looked less full. I countered her observation in the negative. Ten minutes into the visit, she began to agree with me.
She noted that my legs are slightly swollen, and my arms are a little more so. She was most concerned with the amount of fluid around my middle. I'm now officially 15 pounds up from my base weight. Dr. K. brought up lasix, which is a diuretic that I've received via IV infusion many times before. This time around, she offered me an oral course spanning 4 to 5 days. I had concerns about the extra work it would create for my kidneys and was told not to worry about it. I still declined. I'm uncomfortable with the extra fluid, but don't feel that the very temporary relief provided by the lasix would be worth taking yet another medication. Dr. K. offered to call the prescription in for me if or when I change my mind. If it gets any worse, I'll follow through.
Dr. K. also wants to recheck my thyroid levels next visit since my waist has become so thick in the last month. Okay.
As for my blood-work, I only have cell counts. The chemistry wasn't available due to the backlog of patients left over from the holiday weekend. Here's what I have:
WBC: 14.4 K/UL (4.0-11.0) Dr. K. suggested that my white count is high due to steroids. I saw my local oncologist 2 weeks ago and my white blood cell count was somewhere around 18 K/UL and Dr. B. speculated that steroids were also the culprit.
RBC: 3.56 M/UL (4.00-5.50) It's low and no one was bothered.
Hemoglobin: 12.0 (12.0-16.0)
Platelets: 259 K/UL (140-440)
ANC: 10.73 K/UL (1.70-7.30) This makes sense since my white blood cell count was high.
ALC: 1.83 K/UL (1.00-4.80)
AEC: 0.00 (0.04-0.40) I'm taking steroids, so the absence of eosinophils isn't a surprise. These are the little beasties responsible for inflammation and GvHD.
I didn't get a frantic call from my nurse later in the day, so I'm going to assume that my chemistry results were passable. I have to return in a month to get rechecked. I've also been given a pass on seeing my local oncologist this month for blood work. My veins are happy.
My steroid dosage has been cut in half. I'll take 8 mg every other day for a month. Dr. K. referred to it as a therapeutic dose. She also looked me in the eye and warned that I would begin to feel terrible and that I should be ready. I am. She assured me that the cushingoid aspect of my features should start to resolve at these lower levels. In layman's terms, she means that my puffiness should start to subside. I know it will, just not as quickly as she expects.
The fluid will come off in its own time. Of course, I'd like for it to dissipate sooner rather than later since it's severely affected my ability to fit into any bottoms I currently own. I can't keep spending my days in pajamas. It's starting to get scandalous and feeding into my reluctance to leave the house. Classes start in less than 2 weeks and I'd like to be able to sit down without the waistband of my pants rolling down from the downward pressure of my muffin top. I know the solution is to by bigger pants, but having just bought bigger tops, I'm reluctant. I'm just being stubborn.
In the mean time, I've been dealing with trying to get a contractor out to look at a leak that has developed around our chimney. The roof on our house was replaced the year that we bought it by the previous owner. From the placement of the water stains in my ceiling and what Chris observed in the attic, it's not the roof or the flashing around the chimney. I suspect it's the 12 year-old masonite siding on the chimney. You can see that it's suffering from age and neglect. It had to be repaired before we bought the house. I'm guessing that it wasn't done correctly.
I got our first estimate today and it took everything in me not to pull out my copy of RS Means and lay it down in front of the contractor to show him that I was familiar with what labor and materials cost. I can throw out estimates fairly accurately and the number I had in my head wasn't close to the quote. When I asked for a better break down, I heard the phrase, "at cost". Hardly.
Two more estimates tomorrow and a no-show today who may or may not try to reschedule. I'm still trying to decide whether or not to casually display some of my construction reference books in the hopes that should any of the other contractors care to treat me like I've never handled a piece of lumber before, they might reconsider.