The Bees’ Knees

I went to my standing hematology appointment on Wednesday for the Velcade shot. In addition, they did my bi-weekly check of my hemoglobin, and it was only 8.7. I can’t figure out why it’s so low and why it’s not improving with the Aranesp shots. And then I sort of laugh at myself for even thinking that: why in the world would *I* know why it’s not improving?? I’m not a hematologist or a nephrologist.  Duh.

The pharmacist upped the Aranesp dose to 100 mcg*, and from now on, they’ll be checking my hemoglobin weekly instead of every other week. I’ll likely be getting the shots weekly now, at least for a while.
*I think in the past I’ve used mg for Aranesp dosing but I just realized it’s mcg.

When the nurse started to give me the shot, we both noticed a red blotch on my arm. I realized it was from the first COVID vaccination. It doesn’t hurt at all but that was ten days ago, and there was still a mark on my arm. Weird. I hope to get the second shot soon.

So far I haven’t gotten a bill for any of the 2021 Aranesp shots. I’m kind of surprised. Before, they were Johnny on the spot with those! I’d get the shot and two days later, the myChart notification of an outstanding bill would be waiting for me on my phone. I’m sure I’ll get them eventually. It’s not like BCBS is going to give me a freebie.

My legs and feet are still really swollen. It’s so uncomfortable. I told the nurse that even with the recent decrease in the prednisone, I’m still taking about 81 mg of steroids (prednisone + dexamethasone) per week. I asked her if that was enough to cause all this swelling. “Oh definitely,” she said. In a way, I guess that’s good because there’s an endpoint to these drugs, eventually. Better than it being my failing kidneys. I asked Nurse Rose tonight if one has to taper off dexamethasone like you do with prednisone but she said no. Thank goodness! So when I’m done with the Velcade, I assume I can just stop with the dexamethasone right then and there. And by that time, I’ll be on only 5 mg of prednisone. I’m hoping decreasing all that crap will seriously improve this fluid accumulation.

I know I bitch about that a lot but if you’ve never experienced it, a) congratulations!!, and b) it makes life difficult. I can’t bend my legs very much—it’s as if they are overfilled water balloons.  They’re so heavy that sometimes I literally have to lift them into the car. I can’t walk far, or fast. I get winded easily from the weight of them. For real. When I’m home, I try to have them raised whenever possible. The fluid level seems to fluctuate, and it’s definitely worse by the end of the day.  Thanks gravity.

One of the things I learned a few months ago is that the slowest part of my day is putting my damn compression socks on. It takes forever! So I (finally) got smart, and now I put them on at night after I take a shower.  I swear, if I tried to do it in the morning, I’d be late for work! I also wear those “sleeves” that are made for plantar fasciitis for extra support around my bulging ankles. It’s a whole thing. And quite a fashion statement.

My left knee from the fall I took last week looks simply terrible! But this was pretty funny.  I was taking a picture of it to send to Nurse Rose, and the filter on my phone defaulted to “sunset”!! That’s how purple my knee is. My right leg is really bruised below my knee but the knee itself is fine.  I’m very thankful that the pain isn’t anywhere near as bad as it looks (picture below!).

Speaking of knees, my 12-year-old Husky Zeke got overly rambunctious for his breakfast this past weekend and managed to hurt both his knees. We took him to the ER vet, and he basically has bone-on- bone arthritis and torn ligaments. So … he’s going to need surgery on both knees.  TPLO surgery for those who are familiar with it.  Poor old guy. He’s such a good dog. I hate that he is in pain. Because of the COVID backlog, he won’t be able to have the surgery for about a month. His situation is also complicated by the fact that he had heartworm when we got him (about three years ago) so hopefully he’ll be able to tolerate the anesthesia well enough. But there’s not really any option. He can’t just stay in pain for the rest of his life.  Right now, he’s on extra carprofen and some pretty good pain meds and is doing a little better.  His big concern is that he can’t get up on the couch to watch TV with dad.

So… knees beware in our household! Clearly they’re at risk.

Hemoglobin: 8.7

My “sunset” knee

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