Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vampire Life - Blood Transfusion

Fresh blood

My dog can't stop sniffing me.  Clearly, I'm a changed person now that I have somebody else's blood coursing through my system.  When I left the house Friday morning, I smelled like a 53 year old woman whose interests were yogurt, perfume and chemotherapy.  When I came home, a new person walked in.  Maybe I smelled  like a 32 year old man, one who likes Monster Energy Drinks and weightlifting.  Maybe I appeared as a 70 year old woman who secretly needs prunes to get things going.  Maybe a poor person sold their blood, one who lives on cat food.

This new me seems to be mighty confusing to an already confused animal, and she can't stop trying to get a whiff and figure out what the heck happened.

With the loss of her companion last week, there have been lots of confusing changes in the poor dog's life.

As for me - you know how you don't know how bad you felt until you don't feel bad anymore?  That's the state I'm in right now.

How could I have walked around feeling so terrible all of that time?  How did I do it?  How did I get up, go to work, smile (mostly) and get stuff done, feeling the way I felt?

I now totally get why Vampires sink their teeth into innocents, or why the evil mother in Tangled hid the King's daughter in a tree house for 18 years.  Getting a taste of health after being resigned to a life of illness is quite remarkable - a minor miracle.  A fairy tale.

I know one thing - like Vampires or the mom on Tangled, I am going to have to figure out a way to make this blood transfusion thing a regular part of my cancer treatment.

I can breathe normally again.  My heart has stopped beating erratically.  My lips aren't tingling anymore, and I have enough energy to watch an entire TV show without taking a little nap halfway through.  My muscles don't twitch unexpectedly.  My cramps are gone.  I can remember a thought for more than .002 seconds.  The color to my skin has returned and I actually cleaned part of the kitchen, something I hadn't done in a long time.  I spent hours up and doing stuff today, and have energy for more.  So much needs to be done, and now I feel I can do it.

I'd forgotten what that felt like.

I really want to call in to work tomorrow to get long-overdue stuff done at home.

Unfortunately, I don't think you can call in healthy.

The actual transfusion went well.  I was there from 9:00 a.m. to 2:15, not the longest infusion I've ever had but certainly up there.  The photo below was in the infusion center at the hospital which was quite different from the one in my oncologist's office.

Hospital Infusion Center

My oncologist's office infusion room looks like it was decorated by the set designer from the Trailer Park Boys.  This one looks like it was designed by - well, whoever designs hospitals.  The recliners were wipable plastic, easy to clean with alcohol, not corduroy fabric like at my doctor's.  There were no homemade donated knitted throws in weird colors; instead, there were white hospital blankets that come out of warmers.  The floors were shiny and the infusion poles were electronic.

During the five hours I was there, I slept, I emailed,  I watched Big Love on my iPad (free wifi!), I slept again.    They fed me some cream of chicken soup for lunch, and then I took another little nap.  I was really tired, as I am every day.    It's so nice to feel better and it's going to be hard when the exhaustion hits again, which I hope isn't for a week or two.  (Would it be greedy to hope for three or four?)

While there, I discovered that my blood type is A-.  I had thought all these years that it was A+.  I have given birth to two children without knowing I was Rh negative and without getting Rhogam, which is slightly disturbing.

I've never been able to donate blood, but my husband is a regular and has a tee shirt for hitting the gallon mark.  After my experience, I want to thank him, and everybody out there who donates this lifesaving substance so that people like me can feel better for a time.

I especially want thank you for giving my dog something interesting to sniff.  Whatever it is you did, anonymous donor, my dog really likes it.

End of Bag #2


  1. Wow! Beautifully written, funny and touching - the perfect blog. Thanks again for sharing your humor and insight. I'm so glad you're feeling better.

  2. it's miraculous, isn't it! so glad you are feeling better :) enjoy!

  3. Wonderful post! Glad you are feeling better.

  4. Love this post and so glad that you feel good right now. xoxxo Love, Susan from facebook

  5. Nothing short of a miracle, isn't it?! SO happy you have your energy back and I hope you'll get caught up on everything now that you aren't dragging yourself around. My kids all donate blood (for no pay) at school, and platelettes too (that one pays really well if you have a rare blood type like my youngest son who is a sophomore), but I will tell them your story and make sure they know that this is important work they volunteer for and I am grateful to all who give as well. The first time I went to donate after having been cleared ten years following Menengitis, they turned me away because I was anemic. I cried. I felt so rejected! I couldn't have even saved my own babies! And now I can't give because of f_c_ing cancer treatments,and - you guessed it - more anemia!! So God bless all you givers out there!

  6. So glad you are feeling better. Wonder if you should call in and say you can't work, because you have become a vampire and they can only come out at night...hee hee
    Mary/Last Call for Margaritas

  7. Enjoy your rediscovered energy ... and freaking out your fur child. If you get a sudden hankering for a tin of cat food, don't worry. At this point, what can it hurt?

  8. You are so good with words. Exactly how I felt after my first bag. Now I don't know if the dog knew I smelt different because I was in the hospital at the time for my reaction to taxol. Glad you are feeling so much better. Take care and don't overdue it.

  9. Love this posting and LOVE the fact that you are feeling better. It is amazing that we don't know how bad we were feeling until we are feeling better.

    Sending hugs your way,


  10. So glad it has helped you! I sit in amazement at the idea of getting housework done! So glad you are feeling better. -Shelli

  11. oh, joy - i am sooooo happy for you! your exhuberent words remind me that we should all be grateful for any form of loss restored, and celebrate the heck out of it. sending warm hugs, karen

  12. Anne, glad the transfusion has you feeling better! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your blog makes me feel great that my company ( has such a big part in several cancer related charities. We are currently running the Jimmy Fund telethon that benefits the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. My hope is that it will affect people like yourself in finding a cure. If anyone else is reading this, please donate to the cause at

    God bless and get well. You can do it!

    Aaron (audioscience @ TCF) :)

  13. I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better. I say call in for a mental health day. My office has those days for most of us -- when it's just too much, we'll call in mentally sick and the boss understands. Sometimes she's the one who calls in mentally sick...

    I hope your energy levels stay up for a while and you can enjoy living even though you're going through chemo.


  14. you can TOTALLY call in healthy. I think you deserve it after everything you have soldiered through. Think of it as payback for all the times you SHOULD have called in sick and didn't. How many is that now, thirty? Forty? take a day and ENJOY IT. ((HUG))

  15. I am so happy for you having a renewed energy and a feeling of general health and well being. I wish you didn't have to go through having a blood transfusion to get that feeling. Sorry that you lost your puppy dog. It has been a rough month for you

  16. So happy to hear you are feeling better! :)

  17. Ann, I'm very glad you feel better and I just hope that feeling continues for a very long time. Also, isn't it incredible how dogs just don't miss a thing? Mine are the same way.

  18. also glad you have been blessed with the energy of blood transfusion...a miracle indeed....

    it would be helpful if you would tell us how often you expect to post....otherwise, I worry...then again it may not be predictable. Perhaps just a reassurance that if you do not post, it does not mean anything badish.

  19. I hope you are still feeling better from your transfusion.
    I have heard they really work wonders.

  20. I'm so glad that you felt better after the blood transfusion!

    Hugs to you and hoping you fight through.


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