Monday, November 23, 2015

Day -7

WBC - 3.8
(white blood cells, part of the immune system, helps fight infections, normal range is 4.5-12.5)
Hemoglobin - 11.3
(part of the blood that contains iron, carries oxygen through the body, and gives blood it's red color,
 normal range 12.0-16.0)
Hct - 33.5
(hematocrit, the proportion of your total blood volume that is composed of red blood cells, normal  range 36.0-46.0)
PLTS - 90
(platelets, cells that circulate in the blood and clot to keep us from bleeding, normal range 150-400)
ANC - 1.9
(absolute neutrophil count, measures your risk of infection, normal range is 1.8-8.0, anything less than .5 is defined as neutropenia and significantly increases the risk of infection. Claire will eventually be at 0, and will need to be at .5 for three consecutive days to be allowed to go home.)

I kid you not, the song Radioactive started playing when we got in the car this morning. Crazy life moment. Claire was surprisingly chipper as we made our way to the hospital. I asked her why, and she said that we have been waiting so long for this next inevitable step, and she was excited to finally do it and get it over with. She had the first appointment of the day in radiation oncology for her first of six total body irradiation treatments. She tolerated it surprisingly well. The effects are accumulative, though, so it won't stay this good. When she went in for her second treatment today, the technician asked how her day had been. Claire said that she had been pretty lazy, just lying around in her hospital room. The technician said, "What? Did you have a big to do list that you were hoping to work through?" I love that people who work with cancer patients usually have pretty good senses of humor. And they all loved the brown butter chocolate chip cookies that I took them this morning. You can take the girl out of the kitchen, but... (because I know that someone will ask. The pecans are unnecessary, btw)

For whatever reason, Claire has felt better the last few days than she has in a very long time, despite the fact that she had to go to the ER Wednesday night for a fever and they kept her Thursday night, too. Red blood, fluid, and hot chocolate made her feel much better. Friday she walked all over Costco and Trader Joe's with me. Saturday we put up our Christmas tree, went to the aquarium (I know. We live in Utah. But we like it.) and went out to dinner, where she ate artichoke spinach dip, ribs, and fries! She won't be able to go to a restaurant for a very long time. And while I'm on that subject, she's on a reduced microbial diet, so if you want to bring her a food gift sometime, it needs to be individually packaged. No fresh fruits or vegetables, and nothing that has been cooked then cooled a little bit. And she can't have any fresh flowers or plants in the hospital or when she comes home. It's amazing what we do that we don't even think about as being potentially harmful. (Lettuce? No way.)

Tonight I am thankful for my family, my faith, my friends, time killing electronics, and amazing nurses, techs, and doctors who become family in situations like these. As we walked onto the immunocompromised unit this morning, everyone had a big smiles on their faces as they shouted out, "Hi, Claire!" It made it feel almost like home. Or at least a very expensive timeshare.

                                           At the aquarium

Lung plates are in place. They are made of lead and are very heavy. The funniest thing was that with all of the amazing, high tech equipment in this room, they rolled in an old tv on a stand with a VCR/DVD player for Claire to watch a movie.

A welcome back note and pictures starting to go up on the walls.


  1. Thinking about you all every single day!! :) Sending lots of love and prayers to your dear Claire and family.

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  3. Does Claire use iTunes? Either for music or movies? (~Kirsten)

    1. and what would be the best mailing address at the hospital that will go to Claire?

  4. Cheering for you Claire!!! You are amazing! You can do it!!

  5. Our love and prayers to brave Claire and her supportive for family!

  6. those cookies sound dang delicious and I am so happy Claire is feeling so positive..what a bright star! I am constantly aware of you all and pray always and look forward to this window into the Driggs world when you you always and forever Beauty! xoxo

    1. for some reason this post was going to say it was from my hubby..and being the computer dork I am I opted for unknown ;)

  7. It makes my heart feel heavy to read those statistics, and I won't lie and say I don't shed a few tears through these, but I am so happy for Claire's good mood. She is so strong and positive with all of her heart. I just went to that aquarium with my family for the first time a couple of months ago! It was incredible. I see that you guys were in the rainforest area when you took that picture. I loved that place! Did you all get to see the shark area with the clear tank being the walls and ceiling? That was my absolute favorite part. We have much to be thankful for, and my family knows that nurses and doctors can be angels. I hope that you have a fabulous birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas! -Katherine Augade