Sunday, May 18, 2008

days 1-4

hey all! so i guess i'm going to try this blog thing for anyone who's interested in the happenings at strong memorial hospital in rochester room 63428.
as most people at IHS know, i was diagnosed with leukemia on thursday, may 15th. i had been bruising really easily for about a week and getting light headaches (which had never happened before, much less 4-5 times in one week), and my feet were swelling up. i called my aunt, laurie, who is a doctor in MA and asked her about these symptoms. she promptly ordered blood tests at cayuga medical and the results showed an extremely high white blood cell count and a very low platelet count (causing bruising). the next morning, i saw my physician and was admitted as a patient at cayuga medical. while i was there, they must have poked me with needles a trillion times, not to mention conducted a bone marrow biopsy (the most painful ten minutes of my life. this procedure involves drilling into my bone and pumping out a sample of bone marrow. even on morphine and numbing meds on both the skin and the surface of the bone, it was excruciating. i don't think i have ever screamed so loud in my life), and ran multiple tests through the night. they checked in every few hours overnight to check my vitals, so i didn't get much sleep.
that day, i was visited by a few friends: silvie and her mother, paula, cassie and (the next morning) her mother, tory, marcus, rachel (my wifeyyy), jane, maddy, janet (who set me up with this blog, so thank you janet), and my parents (sorry if i forgot someone).
the next morning, i was driven by ambulance to strong memorial hospital. let me tell you, ambulance rides are NOT all that they're hyped up to be. you're basically in a flimsy little box that is bumping back and forth along the road, going way over the speed limit, and oh, you're facing backwards. i got nauseous.
once i got to the hospital, i was taken in a stretcher to my room (unit 634, room 28). i've got the second best view in the unit according to ruben, one of the nurses, and unlike my room at cayuga medical, my visitors don't have to wear masks here. i still can't have flowers, fresh fruit or veggies though.
i've learned that in a hospital, when they say that they don't need to poke you with needles again, to always assume it's false. eventhough they gave me a picc IV, which supposedly allows them to draw blood AND insert medicine into my bloodstream, they still poke me...
another thing they've tried are these things that they wrap around my legs. they inflate and massage my calfs to increase circulation and prevent blood clots. they're nice, but loud too, so i can't sleep with them on like the nurses want me to.

yesterday, saturday, 5/17, i was officially diagnosed with APML (acute promyleocitic leukemia). the doctor says that most people with this kind of leukemia have low white blood cell count, but it's not unusual for people to have high counts, like me. although this type of leukemia is extremely fast spreading, it's very treatable with appropriate chemotherapy. there's a 70% recovery rate. the remaining 30% also includes people with relapses. i guess this means i've got a good shot. the doctor thinks that because i'm young and otherwise healthy, my chances of complete recovery are significantly raised.

i'll be here for 4-6 weeks and back in time for graduation and prom. yes i'm graduating and will most likely attend clark university in the fall. unfortunately, i will not be able to play on the varsity soccer team because of the leukemia. all my teachers told me to not worry about work (with the exception of my lit portfolio, which i had already pretty much finished before this whole thing started) and i should be able to walk at graduation. prom.... well... i won't have much hair left at prom, so the question of whether or not i'll go is still up in the air.

thank you all for the support you've given me and hopefully i'll be back in action before too long.


David Morales said...

I'm definitely going to have to come visit you, like it or not.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marika,

I'm definitely checking this blog for updates. I'm wishing you the best of luck. I have no doubt that you'll beat it!


Anonymous said...

You're so strong and brave, good luck with everything and I'll see you soon. Keep working on your crocheting while you're laid up, and keep us updated.
Sending positive vibes your way,

Unknown said...

I'm with Pancho, let us know where you are exactly and we'll bring some people and some cards and chillax. possibly some uno which should be fun haha

amy fegely said...

So basically you're gonna kick leukemia's ass so just stay strong, alright? Much love and good vibes from me to you. And a smile full of braces of course. And a hug. Go get 'em!
<3 Amy

Anna Kate said...

Hey Marika. Girl I can't believe all this is happening, especially two days after we were joking about the ten bruises you found in gym class. Well just know we all love you, and for Kaku and Pancho, make sure you let me know when you're going cause I'm gunna be right there with you. Love you chica! P.S. you'll be able to make it to a Higley right? cause if not, we'll bring it to you!

Anonymous said...

hey marika.
you're gonna beat this leukemia.
you're to awesome to not beat it.
if you ever EVER need anything or just someone to talk to or just hang out you can ALWAYS call me ANYTIME.
Aimee Rollins

Unknown said...

hey girl,
you are so amazing. i dont know how better to put it than MARIKA IS AMAZING! if there's anything i can do to help you out, let me know. just keep swimming...and looking for the foot that fits!:-)
xoxo, mir

Unknown said...

This is so crazy! I remember you were bruising in gym class, but who would have guessed?

We all love you and are rooting for you! I know you'll make it, and I am here for you if you need ANYTHING!

Much love,

Unknown said...

Hey dahling, tis Colette! YAY Clark University! You'll have a blast but you knew that already. As for the hairloss, don't worry Samantha from Sexand the CIty says wigs are all the rage, and beautiful head scarves are..well..beautiful. And if it still sucks i can shave my head so we can be twins. :-D

I'll be checking up on your blog for updates. Love You!

Jessica said...

I love you and I wish you the best of luck. You're one of the strongest girls I know, and I know you'll get through this. I'm here for you anytime you need me.
<3 Jess

Unknown said...

Ah Marika, you know you gotta come to Prom now, if you can- with or without hair. Either way, you'll be arriving an ass-kicking champion, and you know we'll all love to see you! Oh, and (of course, with my folks it's never definite, but) I'mma try and get up there and see about y'all. Give a few laughs, to help out the way I do best.
On the real, we're rooting for you 1000% and then some. You have all the support you need, so fight the good fight!
Johnathan Reed- ya boy

julie schaeffer said...

hey Marika. I was so fortunate to come visit wednesday. You are so strong and we are all so proud of you. keep kicking ass. i love you so much and cant wait for you to show up at prom looking stunning as always, because you ARE coming. i've seen your dress and you need to flaunt it girl. save the last dance?


Grandma Gladys said...

Marika --- you are my beautiful and brave granddaughter, and I love you very much --- even when you aare in a grouchy mood! I read your blog and am so proud and impresses by the way you expressed your feelings in this most stressful time. My heart and thoughts are with you constantly. Grandma.

David Morales said...

I'm counting the people who say "ass" in their comments, it's quite the trend, but they're right. No amount of ass-hidage can save illness from the wrath of healing you're bringing.