Friday, July 24, 2009

DAY +51: a Decent Report Card from DFCI

Today, Susan saw Amy Joyce, Dr. Soiffer's Nurse Practitioner, not Dr. Soiffer. This is good because Nurse Practitioners and Physician's Assistants are almost always more informative and more fun to talk with than the physicians they support. Here's what Susan learned:
  • blood counts are decent
  • the platelets are still low (attributable to the Valcyte Susan is taking as a protection against CMV infection), but not so low as to be a concern or require an infusion
  • bilirubin, which we have been watching as a marker for the status of the liver and so Susan's VOD condition, is about the same, that is to say elevated; however, today's ultrasound indicates that the portal blood flow reversal, a feature of the condition, has reversed back to normal; it's fair to expect now that the VOD is beginning to subside and that the ascites will follow (and, of course, that the bilirubin levels will move back towards normal)
  • Nurse Practitioner Amy also says that, based on palpating and appearance, the ascites now looks to be improving, a development corroborated by the fact that Susan has lost another 3 lbs since Monday
  • feeling cold all the time, which is one of Susan's complaints, is, according to Nurse Amy, a pretty usual thing ("we see that all the time," she said) and not cause for concern
  • the chest X-ray results were not available in time to review before Susan left, but Amy listened to her lungs and said they sounded fine and not to worry about the cough
All things considered, it was a good report. Amy did remark that Susan looked a lot better than the last time she saw her. Of course, the last time Susan was hiding under a blanket curled into a ball and closer to comatose than alert. The next DFCI visit is scheduled for Wednesday, 7/29. Many thanks to Cici for driving Susan forth from Spencertown and back again.


  1. Hi,

    I thank CiCi as well. This was one of the best reports to date. I knew it would be. Sounds like you could be on the way to making the turn to improving more and more each day. Keep up the good work of eating, drinking, and taking in that country air. It seems to be the best medicine. Thoughts and love always,


  2. Susan,

    Now that sounds like a really encouraging evaulation of you status. I like this nurse Amy. I haven't been making much note of your diet, but hope they allowing you to eat the fresh country corn.

    Love to all,