Tappin’ Out

September 21st, 2015

I’m finished with all the major interventions. I’ll get blood and platelet transfusions as needed, but those are normal.

I am at day +6. That mean’s it’s been 6 days from the day they gave me my stem cells. Normally, it takes around 9–12 days for the stem cells to turn into white blood cells. When that happens, my white blood cell count and my absolute neutrophils will start to climb. I can go home as soon as the white blood cell counts are >1. I booked my flight home for day 10 (Friday), and we need to hope that I make it out by then.

Cells counts today (+6)

White blood cells = < 0.1 (normal range 3.5 – 10.5)

Absolute neutrophils = Too low to count (TLTC) (normal 1.5 – 8.0)

Platelets = 26 (I got a bag of platelets yesterday b/c I was low) (normal 140-390) Transfuse when <10.

Hemoglobin = 8.9 (normal 11.6 – 17.5) Transfuse when < 8

They suspect that I will need hemoglobin soon. As it is with most vampires, this bag of blood will give me energy.

A couple of day ago, I felt like quitting. Drop the mic, I’m out.

I was just gonna let the sun shine on my face, breathe some fresh air, and crush my kids. And then, I guess, die from the common cold.

It’s too late to quit.

This is harder than I thought it would be. I got to figuring that my biggest problem is that I don’t think things though. I talked to Beki about it, and she said that’s why I’m the perfect person to take on a caper. C’mon, we’ll just rob the bank and then we’ll feed the ducks. It’ll be a good day, tater.

Is that what I thought? I’ll get a little chemo, rest a little bit in a room, then go get an ice cream cone? Chemo shmeemo. Humans do it. That means I can do it?

People said I was being brave, but I didn’t think I was being brave. To me, I was just taking a logical step. This could stop my disease. I should do it. Bravery didn’t really come into the picture because I did not fully understand.

My favorite fortune cookie of all time told me this: The only thing you have to fear is your own stupidity.

But then my girlfriends came. They reminded me that I agonized over this decision. Remember? I cried all day reading the Dr. Burt patient-run Facebook page? Remember when HP came down, and we weren’t sure if I was going to be accepted or not, and we got drunk?

Bravery did come into the picture: I was more scared of my disease than I was of chemo.

HP said that I knew what I was doing. My only problem is that sometimes I’m a little out of step with reality, but that is why she loves me.

And then there is this: Melanie, HP, Jill, and Scott came in from Nashville, Racine, and Raleigh to keep me company over the weekend. We had dinner parties in my room, re-arranged the furniture, played dominoes, and laughed our asses off. They obsessively wiped down my room with alcohol wipes. I felt, overwhelmingly and powerfully, that I am loved. I had a moment, it’s hard to describe, but these are girls I’m going to keep until we all die of old age. We’ll have to hold each other up at our funerals. Joey will be the last of the E.Vil girls to die, because she is the most evil, and it will be hard on her.

photo 1 photo 2

Having friends like this is the luckiest thing in the world. I know I made some of that luck, but that doesn’t diminish the power.

More good things: Amy came to visit, and we made plans to make soup for each other every other week back in Raleigh. My cousin Erin is coming today. I wrote down all the words from the video Beki made so I can read them whenever I like.

You are all sending me love and support. It’s damn humbling. I’m so grateful. I love all of you. I can’t think about it too much or I’ll cry. (Well. Too late. I’m crying.)

Yesterday, as I was taking my nap, I felt your love as strongly as sunshine on my face.



13 Responses to “Tappin’ Out”

  1. Tammy Reece on September 21, 2015 3:39 pm

    Stay strong Karen!! You are a superstar and your star shines so bright you can see if from the moon! Love ya, lots of hugs and kisses!

  2. Julia on September 21, 2015 3:41 pm

    Rush played this podcast for me by a big wall climber who, when asked about endurance and bravery doing big wall, said that he only had to be brave or stupid starting but then your stuck up there, and the easiest way off is up! He made a joke about how distance runners were the craziest folks because they could just stop and sit down and have a been any time. In fact, a lot of aid stations are full of people begging you to do just that. But I think he had it backwards. Because if you know you can stop anytime, there’s so little risk. So little bravery is required. What you did makes sense, sure. But I’m glad to hear that your E.vil gals got you back on track to know how brave you are to take this leap. Now that you’re in it – and it sounds so hard – I hope all the love your feeling help you endure through the belly of this beast.

    My love is going your way; a few more drops in the stream headed your way from all directions.

  3. Kate Nichols on September 21, 2015 3:50 pm

    A “big” hug is on it’s way!

    See spate private g.mail

  4. Kim on September 21, 2015 4:02 pm

    honey badger i cannot thank you enough love you enough hold you enough for doing this…..this gives me hope …. real hope for a future without this disease…..to do this is all loving for all of us msers……..much love to you……you cannot know how much!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Lisa on September 21, 2015 5:10 pm

    Oh Babe, you are doing so great! I am so thankful ( and a tad envious) for all of the wonderful people who are making time to be there physically with you. amazeballs. You knock my socks off you super star! You are in the home stretch, your white blood cells are gonna kick some MS ass! I would love to get into the soup rotation, if you girls will let me…xo until tomorrow…<3 <3 <3

  6. Laurie J. Edwards on September 21, 2015 5:13 pm

    You’re doing this!! The worst is over now. You made it through the chemo. From now on, your body’s going to do its thing and make plenty of those white blood cells. So glad you have wonderful company to help the time pass more quickly!

  7. Gabrielle on September 21, 2015 6:17 pm

    I know it’s so so so hard. I have no idea just how hard it is for you. Hang in there–the rest of us need you. Thinking of you and sending hugs and white blood cells. Mwah!

  8. Laura Staman on September 21, 2015 7:06 pm

    I adore you! I am so glad your friends came to visit and Erin too. You rock! Love, Laura

  9. gina massingill on September 21, 2015 8:13 pm

    I am an MSer signing up for this also. What you are writing scares the crap out of me. Actually we are alot alike. I created a new word for it, Scappy, I am scared and happy. More scared tonight. My emotions are all over the place, Back and forth, nevermind, My MS is not that bad, to, I am headed straight for a wheelchair if i don’t. I guess that is more scary when it comes down to it.
    I admire your courage and pray I will have it in a few months.

    Take Good Care, Karen. you will be in my highest thoughts and prayers.
    I am close to having my blogging website ready to go. I will offer to bring you into my madness as well.
    Gina Massingill

  10. Pat on September 21, 2015 8:25 pm

    Come on, blood cells!

    All body parts are crossed for you. You rock!

  11. Debbie Kane on September 21, 2015 9:40 pm

    Every time I read your blog I am blown away on so many levels. Your bravery (yes), your humor, your honesty, your heart. You booked a flight home for Friday – that is soooo close! You are almost there and the hardest part is behind you now. You don’t need me to tell you you’ve got this. Ride it out a little longer, warrior.

  12. Shannon on September 22, 2015 1:12 pm

    Ride tough cow girl.

  13. Nan Boyne on September 22, 2015 1:32 pm

    Your strength and great humor are enviable. I’ll be the first in line to buy your book!

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