What in the hell is a platelet anyway?

Today, my platelet count dipped to the point where standard medical protocol swung into action and I received a transfusion of someone’s platelets.

So what is a platelet? They don’t look like blood:

the platelet drip bag

the platelet drip bag

More like watered down honey mustard.

Well, I am not a doctor, or a scientist, but I can tell you this: they originate in the bone marrow, have a short life span that ends in the spleen and are necessary for an important thing we call hemostasis with leads to clotting and coagulation.

Other than that, I’ll point you to a couple of relatively straightforward explanatory sites: wisegeek.com, Wikipedia, and an overview of platelets, platelet transfusions and how they affect cancer patients like yours truly at cancerbackup.com. Enjoy your medical reading for the day.


But, wait, Mike, how are you? Oh yes. I’m doing very well, actually. Each time one of the transplant doctors comes in to examine me here in A4, they comment at how good I look. Which means to them that I look good for someone going through high dose chemo with autologous stem cell transplant. Because, really, I don’t look good.

I love the hospital

I love the hospital

Today is what the docs call Day +5, which means five full days out from the transplant:

My white counts are still precariously low, but I feel okay. Dr. Schwarz reminded me yesterday that the discharge day will probably be similar to my first round, on or around Day + 9 or Day +10 (Thursday or Friday). If that happens, it will give me sufficient time to rest up for the holiday, which I am very much looking forward to — a quiet Christmas morning with Dawn and the cats and our live tree in the corner of our living room. It’s always good to have things to look forward to.


7 Responses to “What in the hell is a platelet anyway?”

  1. sospokesaroj Says:

    Hi, I came across your blog randomly. I’m so sorry you’re going what you are going through, but I think it’s amazing and very informative/inspirational that you are blogging about your experiences. It gives an interesting perspective.

    Keep up the good work, and I wish you the best for your treatment/recovery. 🙂

  2. I may never eat honey mustard again. You look a little bit like our baby niece. It could be the lack of hair. Both of us hope that you have a wonderful Christmas, and a very Happy New Year.

  3. I love your caption. I’m sending off a care package in the morning. ‘Cause I care.

  4. Dude. lets drive Thursday or Friday. Are you in?

    …and Jeanne says “nice sleeping pants.”

  5. I’m in Todd. Like Flynn.

  6. […] The C Word my cancer journey « What in the hell is a platelet anyway? […]

  7. I love platelets. Damian works in transfusion medicine, and my favorite part of his lab is the big case of platelets. Thay have to be kept warm and constantly agitated. And you can tell they’re healthy (alive) when you hold a bag up to the light and they’re all swirly looking.

    Platelets are cool.

    I’m glad you are doing okay, and have a wonderful Christmas!

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