Day 14 of 28 in Isolation

 

Yes, my isolation at MD Anderson Hospital is half over. Before I could enter my room I had to take a shower with a product that is used before surgery. Then I covered-up with a disposable robe, mask, head and shoe covering. Once I entered my isolation room I could throw away all the outer coverings and be in my normal clothes with slippers or non-skid socks. I haven’t left my room since.

I don’t have a shower or a flushable toilet in my room. Each day I bathe with warm, disposable moist cloths. I wash my hair in the sink. I feel clean. I have never cared for camping, but several people have told me it’s much like camping.img_3413

Family and friends are not allowed to enter my room unless they are on staff here at MD Anderson. I have had plenty of family and friends visit through a double paned window in the family room that connects to my room. I love their visits.

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Hi from me.

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Hello back from Holly.

For those who do not know my situation, here’s an explanation. In 2006 I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). This is cancer of the bone marrow and a precursor to Leukemia. To date I still am diagnosed with MDS.

Until March 2015, my MDS was not advanced enough to require treatment. I was under the infrequent care at MD Anderson, but my internist monitored my blood counts in between those visits. Bone marrow produces white blood cells which controls your immune system, red blood cells, which produces your oxygen, and platelets, which coagulates your blood and keeps you from bleeding internally as well as externally.

My first chemo treatment was part of a clinical trial taking Decitabine by tablet. After four months of treatment the drug  started working. Then I had seven months without transfusions. Unfortunately, we came to a dead-end. What a disappointment. It was back to frequent platelets transfusions again. Then I started a low dose of Decitabine given intravenously along with Promacta by tablet to try to raise my Platelet count. It didn’t work.

In the meantime we had an orientation at MD Anderson and Methodist Hospital for a stem cell transplant. A search went on to find a match for me for a stem cell donor. Several potential donors were found with a 10 out of 10 match. However, after two different bone marrow aspirations and a biopsy, it was determined I am not a candidate at this time for a transplant.

Instead I was put in the hospital in isolation to receive two different kinds of chemo that completely wiped out my bone marrow. So on Day 14 I have no bone marrow which means no immune system. Everyone who enters my room is covered from head to toe with disposable gown, head, and shoe coverings and a mask. I have to recognize people by their eyes, stature and voice.

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My nurses today. The nursing staff is kind and caring.

Amazingly, the first two weeks have not been bad. I am an introvert so I get my energy by being alone. I love being with people and out and about, but like a true introvert have to retreat to solitude to be energized again. I get plenty of people contact from 5 AM until 11 PM each day. Nurses, doctor, room service, vital sign taker, and housekeeping are in and out of my room all day long.

My room, #1272, is great. It’s one of two very large rooms with a double window on the twelfth floor . There is a stationary bike, lounge chair, desk chair with desk, a rocking chair, bedside table, and bed in my room. I have made it as much like home as possible.

I stay busy with Quilts, Inc. office work through deliveries and via the internet, crafting projects, watching “The Crown” on Netflix, FaceTime with my younger grandchildren, text messaging, journaling and all the hospital stuff. The time has gone by swiftly.

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Embroidery I finished while in isolation.

 

Mail delivery and visitors have been a highlight during the day. I love the cards and fun things that have been delivered to my room.

 

I receive platelets and/or blood transfusions almost daily now. I am attached to a pump by a PICC line in my arm 24/7 that administers the transfusions and constant fluids. It doesn’t hurt. I just go about my day and night with “Tagalong” always by my side.

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Tagalong

 

Today I missed a second A & M game in College Station with my husband. It made me a little weepy the first one I missed, but today my son-in-law came to visit during the game time.

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My husband at the A&M game without me.

 

 

Our daughter and our older son’s wife will decorate our house for Christmas before I get home on December 3. They have pictures to follow in each of the boxes for each vignette. If you go back to my blog post on December 2014, you’ll get a preview of how it will look. I do the same thing every year with only a few minor changes.

From Our House to Yours

From Our House to Yours

 

I look forward to all our family being together and celebrating Christmas on December 22. Here they are all gathered at our home the day before I came into the hospital. What a wonderful family. Troy, our younger son, comes from Long Beach, California again tomorrow for a visit. Todd, our older son, who lives in Dallas, will be back again on Tuesday.img_3355-002

As I’ve said so many times, “Family is the best!” My prayer is that this treatment will work and I can be in remission to spend time with them and you, too, my friends. Much love and good wishes to you and yours. God is good. Judy

 

 

 

 

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16 Responses to “Day 14 of 28 in Isolation”

  1. Laroyce Says:

    Judy I always enjoy your post. Thinking of you and praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Nyberg Says:

    Dear Judy Kay, a card is in the mail–and prayers are with you always as you travel this new path to recovery. May God keep watch over you and your family. Sending my love to you–Cousin Mary Jane

    Liked by 1 person

    • judymurrah Says:

      It’s always a treat to see a message from you, Mary Jane. I think of you often and hope you are coping with your own situation. Prayers for you, too, my precious cousin. Big hug, Judy

      Like

  3. bbquiltmaker Says:

    Thanks for this update and explanation of your situation. Glad this experience has not been too difficult for you. A soft hug to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • judymurrah Says:

      Barbara, I sometimes assume those who are close to me understand the disease I have, but I learn often that they missed an earlier explanation. I’m doing fine even in the words of my isolation oncologist. Of course the real proof will be a good report when I have the next bone marrow biopsy. Thanks for all your work at Market and Festival.

      Like

  4. SarahAnnSmith Says:

    Judy, you are absolutely remarkable! I really appreciated the explanation. I, too, am an introvert and need the solo-time. I find after being “on” for Festival, I relish some good at-home time, mowing the fields and emptying the suitcases to re-energize. If attitude could heal, you’d be healthy forever. Sending cyber hugs and healing, Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

    • judymurrah Says:

      It was great to see you at Festival, Sarah Ann. I don’t think I can relate to “mowing the fields”, but I do know about needing time to regroup after Quilt Festival. So glad you were part of our faculty. Thanks so much.

      Like

  5. Kay (Swartzkopf) Smith Says:

    Many blessings and prayers from me to you! In reading your words I know you are being cared for completely by medical staff, family and our Heavenly Father. I did not know you to be an introvert and so identify with those thoughts as our energy does come from within and in our own place! I always so agree with you as Family is Best and God is Good! My prayer is for you to be home with Family for your very best Christmas!!
    Love, Kay (Swartzkopf) Smith

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Elizabeth Ford McDonald Says:

    Keeping you in our prayers. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I so admire your strength. Sending hugs and love your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. judymurrah Says:

    Thanks, Liz. I certainly have enjoyed seeing that precious grandbaby of yours celebrating his second birthday. Troy and Michelle’s Thompson will be 2 on June 1. They are expecting another boy on April 2. That will be a lively household.

    Like

  8. Lori DeJarnatt Says:

    Much love and healing to you, Judy! Your room does look very homey and cozy. XOXO

    Like

    • judymurrah Says:

      Thank you, Lori. I enjoy reading your blog posts. I had looked forward to visiting with you at Quilt Festival, but that didn’t happen. I hope each of us will be back next year.

      Like

  9. houxisholly2 Says:

    My brother has a cancer like that 10 years ago my other brother was a perfect donor match for the stem cells. He was in isolation for 6 months. He is doing good no return and it is 10+ years.
    He is raising sheep, and it is snow and snow. The sheep look like walking snowmen. I say a prey for you and all the people who go there cancer treatment. You are strong and will survive.
    Happy Hollydays.

    Liked by 1 person

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