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It hurts to laugh

11:02am. Tuesday November 4th 2014
How I’m feeling: In so much pain – but really confident that I’m going to get through this. 

My mouth is a wreck. I can’t drink, eat, talk, smile, laugh without tearing up.

I can’t LAUGH! Laughing is my jam.

The human mouth carries a ton of bacteria and so everyone who forgoes a stem cell transplant has to go through a comprehensive dental evaluation. If there are any outstanding cavities, fillings that have fallen out, minor infections, etc. – they must be dealt with well before the high dose chemo part of the stem cell transplant process. The reason being is that the high dose chemo received prior to the transplant will drop my white blood cell count to 0 – no defence against infections. And the mouth carries the most bacteria. No matter how careful we are, we catch germs and infections all the time! The difference with me is that I will soon have absolutely nobody in my corner constantly fighting them off for me.

And so, somewhere within all of this craziness,  an oncology dental surgeon here at PMH handled a few things well before my high dose chemo. He had to pull out a wisdom tooth, replace a filling and pull out a tooth that had one massive gross crack in the middle. It all happened so quickly as they put me on the urgent list.

This has been an area that was so interesting for me to learn about – the importance of dental health for cancer patients forgoing

Leading up to the inevitable decline of white blood cells, I was advised to rinse every hour with a rinsing agent the nurses provide me with and to brush with these lollipop looking sponge “toothbrushes”. They suggest that I don’t brush my teeth (with a normal toothbrush – even if it’s a soft one) and floss – as my gums will likely bleed. I did anyways (I really love brushing and flossing) but stopped the moment I saw a tiny bit of pink.

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Mouth rinsing agent. I have to finish one of these bottles a day.

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My “toothbrush” if I really am itching to brush my teeth.

Right now, I have the most painful sores down my throat and on my tongue. It hurts to swallow my own saliva. As if the nausea wasn’t already enough to steal away my appetite (food smells and the thought of food make me hurl right now), now I physically cannot take anything down.

I’m waiting for stronger pain meds for my sores. The nurses tried giving me one – but it really didn’t make a difference. I really want to eat b/c I feel like I should. My diet right now is pretty much yogurt, Booster Juice and baby foods <- and even those hurt so much to take down. I tear up with every spoonful.

Oh, I just found out that I’ve reached a high fever (38.7 Celsius) and so blood cultures have to be collected from me and then I have to take some antibiotics. I also need another blood transfusion today (Thank you blood donor #2!).

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THIS again. Just when I thought I didn’t have to get poked again now that I have a Hickman line they had to grab blood cultures from both my Hickman line and a peripheral arterial site. I made sure to tell the nurse that they will likely not find anything in my arms and hands – and that they might as well go straight for one of the last resorts, the foot. Two tries. No success. The team is now trying to track down a specialized IV nurse.

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Blood cultures from my Hickman line.

I just need to get through this day. Today and tomorrow are expected to be the roughest days when white blood cell count dips to 0.

3 replies »

  1. YOU CAN DO IT! You’re a champ and this is just a moment in time. I can’t wait to celebrate your health and well being when this is all said and done. Love you and am always sending love and light your way. 🙂

  2. ❤ You are stronger than you know beautiful! This too shall pass, and we'll dancing together in no time. Love you lady! Can't wait to see you soon!

  3. Wow …you are inspirational!!!!! Wandered onto to your blog and thought another place another time we could have met in a nail place but right now you are dealing with “life” and i am amazed at your sense of focus to get through this. With prayers for your complete recovery.

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