Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 35

The result is in! I saw my doctor today and he told me the great news... I don't have the PNH clone in my blood anymore. How awesome God is. My blood tests came back normal too. WBC 10, Hgb 13.6 and platelets 168,000. The only thing that came back a little elevated was my cholesterol, so I'm adding fish oil to my list of medication. I'm feeling great. Thank you, Lord!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 33

Today is Sunday and I'm happy to share with you that I was able to attend church service this morning. We also got to see some friends at Walnut today. How time flies. My friend, Shellah, has two beautiful daughters. The older one, Ashlyn, will be in high school in the Fall and the younger one, Sage, will be in seventh grade. I think I've been friends with Shellah since I was 23 and I'm 29 now. Anyway, it was really good to see them today, along with Rich and their fluffy dog, Bear. Danica sure had a great time being carried around, that's for sure!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 31

Today, my sister Viv took me to City of Hope for a Bone Marrow Biopsy. The nurse was really amazed on how I handled everything. It wasn't that bad at all. The worst part is the injection of Lidocaine because it has this burning sensation. Actually, this was the third time I've had a biopsy done. And I believe, the doctor gets to do it again on my 100th day Post Transplant. Oh the joy of being a patient... really teaches you a lot about being patient. Right now I'm seeing my doctor twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

I want to give a shout out to my nurse, Lisa. She is such a kind person and she has a good heart. It is always my prayer to get a good nurse and today my prayer is answered. I did get a good nurse and the most amazing part is I was able to share with her my story. And she listened. That's what make a good nurse. To all the great nurses I've had and to all my nurse friends, CHEERS! You guys have a hard job, work long hours and I know it is tiring, but please take time to listen. Love you guys =)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 30

Ive made it to my 1st month Post Bone Marrow Transplant. In about ten more weeks, I can finally eat whatever I want to. Let's just say by my birthday, September 16, yup I thinks that's a good deadline. My taste buds are slowly recovering. Sweets are still on the very sweet side and that metallic taste is slowly fading away.

Today is my Mom's 60th birthday. I feel bad that we can't go out for dinner due to my condition and special diet that I'm on. I know she wants to celebrate big time, I feel awful. I promise to make it up to her when I'm feeling better. Happy birthday to my Mom and also a shout out to the other Vivien, my sister, that is. It was her 33rd birthday yesterday. How time flies... And I'll be 30 this September... Wow!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 28

I went to see the doctor again this morning. My labs looked great. Hemoglobin 10.1, WBC 5, and Platelets 138,000. Thank God, everything is holding up, including my platelets. The was my number one problem in the past. On Friday, I will have another bone marrow biopsy to check for the Aplastic Anemia and to see if I still have the PNH clone. I hope they're both gone!!! In Jesus' name.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 27

I woke up hungry this morning so I boiled some eggs. It was 4:30 in the morning and at the same time, Danica was awake and hungry too. It was so funny how we were both hungry at that hour. She drank her milk and I ate two and a half eggs. You can say I got my protein for the day. I'm lucky because there's always food here at home. Thank you, Mom, for the supplies. I'm really glad to be home. Hospital food was nasty!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 26

I'm 26% there. My skin itches a lot, but I have to avoid scratching it. I don't have any rashes, just itchy skin. I can't get comfortable even here at home. I kind of miss the hospital, only because I can ask for pain medication via IV and it puts me to sleep for a good couple of hours. I can't wait to feel better. My throat is killing me!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 25

I hate that I have a bunch of medication to take, most of them twice a day. How I wish I was 100% again. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed eating. There's a metallic taste in my mouth and it's killing me. Dear God, please let this come to pass, just like everything else I've been through. Make it quick, Lord. Please?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 24

I had my first outpatient appointment today with my BMT doctor. Everything went well. My labs look great. Thank God, I didn't need transfusion today. My last transfusion date is June 4. Hope it stays that way. I'm so glad to be home!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 23

I'm home. My mom is making spaghetti right now. In my head, I keep thinking about how good dinner would be, but I know it won't taste the same. My taste buds are dead right now. For breakfast and lunch today, I just had Ensure. I can't wait until Day 100, that's when I end this low bacteria diet I'm on right now. The doctor said it takes six months to about a year to fully recover from the Transplant. Hopefully, since I'm young, I'll recover faster. Please continue to pray for me. Thank you guys :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 22 I'm Going Home Today

This is it, this is the last time I'll be blogging from Room 6103. I can't wait to go home and be with my husband and baby. I'm just waiting for the Pharmacist to come by and I'm good to go. Everything is still surreal to me. Thank you, dear God, for being with me throughout this whole thing. I love you!

Palma out :D

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 21

Nurse: Hi Leesha! Good morning, I'll be your nurse today.
Me: My name is Leica. It's spelled L-E-I-C-A but it's pronounced as L-I-E-C-A. It's "like a..."
Nurse: Ok, Leticia, just let me know when you need anything. I'll be right back to assess you.
Me: Forget it!

Here's one more for ya...

Nurse: Hi Mrs. Palma!
(Sometime in the middle of the day, meets my husband. Comes back later on...)
Nurse: So is Palma your maiden name?
Me: No, it's my married name.
Nurse: Your husband doesn't look like a "Palma"

Ok, one last...
Nurse: (Looks at Danica's pictures) Your baby is half white and what?

Haha! Classic stories from the hospital... They better not mess up Danica's name and call her Daneesha. I would get so mad!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 20

I got great news: if all goes well (and it will), I get to go home on Wednesday. Woohoo! Just a few rules... I can't have pets at home (I will miss you, Mr. Miyagi, my Pekingese, and Sammy, Julia's Golden Retriever), no indoor plants (sorry, Mom, I know you want some orchids indoor), I'm on a special diet (low bacteria) for two months (no raw food, no SUSHI... Oh no!), no visitors for the next couple of months (but that's okay because I need time for my hair to grow out, anyway) and the doctor said not to have the baby sleep in the same room (this one I kind of have a problem with, but we'll work it out at home, I'm sure). The reason for all these is because my immune system is low. Hang in there with me for just two more months, guys.

I want to give a big "thank you" to my Lord, Jesus Christ, for completely healing me and always being by my side. To my family, for all the patience they have for me. Thank you to Lola Net for being here and taking care of Danica. Thank you to the Rodriguez family, thank you for all the love and support you have shown us. To my sister, Ate Ex, thank you for sacrificing your days off just to take care of Danica. To my parents, I love you both and thank you for having us at home (no charge... LOL). To my friends, thank you for all the prayers, God answered them all. I'm alive and well. Thank you to those who donated blood and/or platelet. You all have made such a difference in my life and other patients as well. And the biggest THANK YOU to my husband, Raul. You have been my advocate since Day 1. You were my voice when I could not speak. You always make time for me. I love you always and forever!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 19 I Want To Go Home

I finally met my friend, Dawn. I'm allowed an hour a day to take a break from my IV. I spent half an hour in the shower and the other half, I went to go and meet Dawn. Her room is just around the corner. What a wonderful person she is. Because her WBC is still too low, I had to wear gown, mask and gloves inside her room. Oh I hope that we will keep in touch and be friends even after we get discharged from this place. Please help me pray for her. Right now the doctors haven't given her permission to even walk outside her room. I pray that the Lord will continue to give her strength each and every day. We both are just eager to go home and be with our babies. Thank you all for your prayers!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 18 Post BMT

Woohoo, I'm making some progress here. The doctor got me off antibiotics, I no longer have a fever and it's been a while since my last spike. The TPN (nutrition) I was receiving via IV was changed to overnight only. Even though the food sucks here, I'm forcing myself to eat three times a day. And even if the water isn't Aquafina, you bet I'm drinking it anyway. I just want to get out of here. My IV medications are slowly switching to PO meds (by mouth).

My friend, Dawn, in Room 6119 is just 5 days behind me. We are planning a meet and greet in the hallway or in her room. That didn't happen today because my family came and visit. So hopefully tomorrow. It's so wonderful to have a friend here, who's going through the same things I'm going through. And we both have a four-month old at home. I wish to be her friend for a long time. When the children are old enough, maybe we can have a play-date.

And the highlight of my day today was that I got to see my baby Danica. Oh how lovely she looked, in a pink and white striped romper, that her Auntie Shellah and family got her. It's currently my favorite outfit on her. She looks cute in pink, definitely a girly-girl.

Ooooh before I forget, I have another new friend. She attends Light of the World in Pomona. Although I've never once met her, I was surprised to receive a card from her. She truly made my day when I read her message. Just the kind of note that I needed, especially that day because I was not feeling well. Her name is Grace and I just wanted to give her a shoutout on my blog! Thank you for putting a smile on my face. I hope to meet you at church soon and I also have included you and your family in my prayers. God bless you!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Down, Down, Up :)

Sorry, I've been MIA for a couple of days. I was constantly vomiting and still have bad diarrhea (sorry TMI). The only reason why I feel a little bit better is because my doctor started me on steroids. Prednisone, I believe. Great, now my blood sugar is all over the place and I get insulin shots as needed. Well, today will be another long day for me. At 3:00 pm, I will have an endoscopy done. The doctor wants to know what's causing my gastrointestinal problems. I sure hope it's not GVHD (graft vs host disease).

OH, I'VE GOT GREAT NEWS! Dr. Farol gave me a pass to see Danica in the lobby. I miss my babe so much. And if all goes well, I might be able to come home next week. Hallelujah! Thank you God. Thank you, Father, for healing me completely. Truly, you are the best physician. I love you, Lord God!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 13 Post BMT

I'm blogging super early today (it's only 3:49 am). My mouth sores are slowly going away and my throat doesn't hurt as much either. God has been so good to me. It's amazing how my life has transformed. I still remember the day Raul and I went to the hospital to confirm my pregnancy. The doctor asked what we wanted to do with the baby. Raul and I were in disbelief. We weren't expecting that type of question. I was maybe one month pregnant and this was before the diagnoses. I couldn't believe that the doctor was already giving us an option to terminate the pregnancy. "Of course we are keeping the baby," we told her.

The first trimester was horrible. I was vomiting almost everyday. Food smelled weird and didn't taste the same. I stopped eating red meat, I hated the taste and smell of it. My senses have heightened. I was so sensitive about everything. I even locked myself up in the room while Raul cooked his dinner. Otherwise, I would throw up because of the smell. I survived by eating crackers and oatmeal. My poor baby had to have something. Most of the time, I forced myself to eat and drink fluids, but ended up vomiting. The worst part was that I worked night shift, 6:30 pm until 7:00 am. For the next ten weeks, I dragged myself to go to work. On my days off, Raul drove me to the Urgent Care to get treated for hydration. Basically, the nurse would start an IV line and infused my vein with Normal Saline. It took about 45 minutes to an hour for each bag (one bag has 1 liter) and most of the time the doctor ordered 2 liters.

One Saturday afternoon, I asked Raul to take me to the Urgent Care again. "There's definitely something wrong with me," I told him. And that day became the most crucial day of my life. The doctor ran a blood test and based on the result, I needed blood and platelet transfusion. I was transferred to the ED right away. To make a long story short, Raul, Paul, Va, Julia and Gloria came to see me in the ED. Two units of blood had been transfused and then the nurse started the platelet. Ten minutes into the platelet transfusion, my body felt itchy all of a sudden. I asked Raul to help me scratch my back, then my legs and next thing I know, I got hives all over my body. I was having an adverse reaction from the platelet. The nurse panicked and pushed 25 mg of Benadryl through an IV line on my left wrist (for some reason, I had another line on my right am). The nurse pushed the Benadryl too fast that the left side of my body started burning. From the top of my head to the tip of my toes, it just burned! I was begging for a doctor and screaming for help. My eyes were closed halfway and everything was slowly turning into a white blur. "Help me, please. The left side of my body is burning." Then I heard the doctor's voice, "You have to tell me what happened so I can help you." This doctor must have thought I was joking around. I repeated myself, "the nurse gave me Benadryl and now the left side of my body is burning." It wasn't a good line to begin with, they should have used the line I had on my right arm instead. Finally, the nurse shot an epi-pen on my left thigh and in a couple of seconds, the burning sensation was gone and so was I. The epi-pen knocked me out. I didn't remember anything after that shot. When I woke up, I was already admitted in the Med Surge Department on the third floor.

The following day, I was transferred to the ICU and the Oncologist performed a bone marrow biopsy. Aplastic Anemia was the first diagnoses. A week later, I was also diagnosed with PNH.

For the next couple of weeks, Raul and I cried ourselves to sleep. My mom and older sister stayed with us in our two-bedroom apartment for a little over a month. We had our devotion and prayed every single day. God is good, He answers all our prayers. Sometimes He says "yes" sometimes He says "no" and sometimes He says "later." God has a plan for my family and me. During these tough times, I learned how to be patient. I don't know when I'm going to be healed, but I know that I will be healed in His perfect time.

I want to share this bible verse with you today:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
 do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
 I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 12 Yo!

Bad news: this morning, I woke up because my throat hurt so much when I swallow. Most of the time, I use a yankauer to suction the saliva that pools in my mouth. And sometimes, I swallow it, but when I do, I feel this burning sensation in my throat. It also seems like my throat is closing in on me. And I still have the usual, you know... Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. I just all of a sudden didn't feel good this morning.

Well there is good news: my WBC is 0.9 today. Slowly but surely it is increasing. I need these vital cells to help me get better sooner.

I miss Danica <3

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 11 - It Only Goes Up From Here

I still have diarrhea (and once again, sorry TMI), throat hurts like crazy when I swallow, hair is coming off, skin is darker than usual, fingertips are tingling, still vomiting... But let's set all that aside because I have some great news! My platelet count is elevating slowly, it's +1 a day. Yesterday it was 43, today it is 44. My WBC is also rising. From 0 (Wednesday) to 0.1 (Thursday), 0.2 yesterday, and today it is 0.5 !!! Praise be to God! I really need my WBC to rise back to normal so that I can fight all those signs and symptoms I mentioned above. This is it, guys! The numbers just get better from here on. And when my counts stabilize, I will finally get to see Danica, but only in the lobby for now. I'm super excited!

Thank you for all your prayers. If you still don't believe it, GOD is SO REAL!!! To God be the glory!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 10 Post BMT

Blogging so late tonight. Well at least I remembered to. Just wanted to share with you some facts regarding my disease:
1. PNH - is short for Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria.
2. Paroxysmal means "sudden and irregular"
3. Nocturnal means "at night"
4. Hemoglobinuria means "blood in urine"
5. So basically it means "sudden, irregular episodes of blood in the urine at night or early morning.
6. Sounds pretty simple when I explain it. But the doctors, of course, will give you a more detailed explanation.
7. The only drug being used right now to control it is Soliris(Eculizumab)
8. Soliris is the MOST expensive drug
9. Alexion Pharmaceutical first tried to use this drug for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients, but it didn't work for that population.
10. It works on PNH patients. And this the reason why it is most expensive drug - this blood disorder is very rare

Just a few cool facts
1. I was the first PNH and pregnant patient at Kaiser Sunset
2. Most women who are pregnant and have this disease usually deliver early
3. My baby Danica came out just 5 days before the expected due date. She is one healthy baby!
4. Lots and lots of prayers from family and friends also help!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

It's Day 9 and I'm feeling much better!

I am so happy today. Actually it started yesterday. Raul took the day off to take Danica to see her doctor. Then, he came to visit me at City of Hope. He got here a little past noon. We spent our time talking about Danica and everything. I enjoy the time we spend together. I'm so fortunate to have Raul as not only my husband, but also my best friend. There's never a dull moment. We always find something to talk about and we know how to make each other laugh (I still say, I'm the funny one in the relationship). Then there are moments when we need "alone" time. For example, I'll scrapbook with my sisters, while he and Paul (the brother-in-law) would work on their guy stuff - computers, watch violent movies, Best Buy, etc. Having a little time off from each other is actually a good thing. Then we share how our day was before going to bed. My life with Raul is pretty simple. This is why we have a strong relationship. We don't make things complicated. We tell each other everything. I trust him and he trusts me. We have the same agenda - God is number 1. Every Sunday, we will go to church as a family. And now that we're parents, we have to make sure that we go out for "date nights." Maybe once or twice a month, we'll drop Danica off at Grandma's house.

My nurse yesterday, Melanie, said that I look very happy. I was honest with her, I still have pain here and there, but when my husband is here with me, all the pain go away. Raul has this very positive attitude, just what I need when I'm feeling down.

This morning, Melanie was my nurse again. She said that I'm the best patient here. Everyone else is depressed and whining about something. And here I am, telling stories, being friendly with the staff, and cracking jokes. "No pain today, Leica?" asked Melanie. I still have pain but I'm not going to let it ruin my day. At this stage, I'm more excited about getting better, my glass is half full.

Can this day get any better? KC, the blood donor coordinator just called to let me know that 15 people have donated blood/platelet under my name. Wow! My family and friends are awesome! I am so blessed.

Everything is going according to plan, God's plan that is. I knew it! I knew God has a reason why all these things happened. He sure is one amazing God. I love you, Lord!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Sorry about the title of my blog today, but that's just how I feel. My WBC is 0, platelet 27,000 and hemoglobin 7.9. I'm having diarrhea every hour, mouth sores are more painful plus I have a fever. All these bad things going on right now are actually good things, according to the doctor. This is exactly what he wants to happen, a little bit of GVHD (graft vs host disease). Basically, it means that the transplant is working. The Chemo drugs are killing my cells and making room for my donor's stem cells. No pain, no gain...