Monday, April 16, 2012

Nine Point Liver

Finally, a smidgen of good news!

Jimmie's hemoglobin has been a problem for months.  Normal range is 12 - 18, but his slid under the 10 mark last September and has not seen double digits since.  It hung out in the 9s (excluding the scary days following surgery) until the end of February when the 8s arrived.   It has been sliding so much for so long that most weeks I was just relieved if the number stayed stable.  But 2 weeks ago it had slipped again, this time so low that the nurse offered a blood transfusion.  Jimmie declined, but by the next day was rethinking that one and accepting that maybe he should have taken the blood.

It was then that he uttered words I NEVER expected to hear from my husband of 38 years.  "If you want to cook some liver, I will eat it."  Jimmie's anti-liver sentiments go way back, so such a statement from him actually bordered on shocking.  But I didn't waste any time discussing it and managed to get liver into him 3 times that week.  Last Monday his hemoglobin had rocketed up 8/10s of a point, the biggest jump he has ever taken.  Naturally, I took credit for it on liver's behalf, but his oncologist disagreed.  He was absolutely sure liver had nothing to do with the improvement.  (Obviously, I was dealing with another member of the Anti-Liver League.  They seem to be everywhere.)  When I asked for the blood count again to be sure I had it right Dr. Montero quipped, "It was 8 point liver."  Lovely.

Despite the doctor's recommendation last week that Jimmie only eat liver if he actually liked it, I kept cooking it.  And today Jimmie's hemoglobin jumped up another 9/10s of a point.  When I excitedly pointed out to Jimmie that it was now at 9.7 he quickly corrected me.  "No, it's 9 point liver ."

Of course, this dramatic upswing also coincides with the infusion chemo being discontinued . . . and it is known to cause anemia in a small percentage of patients.  But so does the new chemo.  In fact, destroying red blood cells is even more common with this new chemo.

Jimmie had better start liking liver.

- Linda

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