Just when you think everything’s going your way, right…
I had my weekly blood tests and review with the dietician and doctor last Wednesday.
My weight had dropped by about 6lbs from the previous week- I was a little anxious and figured even putting lead weights in my boots wasn’t going to help me this time!
Over and above that I have a sense of keeping my head down and keep moving slowly, slowly, day by day – fire up my ipad and have a game of solitaire – quite apt really!
That same day I got a call from the doc saying don’t come in for chemo tomorrow.
My neutrophils are low – the white blood cells that fight infection.
To have chemo they should be around 1, ordinarily I think they are 1.5 – mine were .4 so i was shocked and, of course, concerned regarding the possible implications.
What sprung to my mind was what the hell’s wrong with you man? Are you that weak? You’re going to miss a chemo? It felt like I had failed somehow – my ego was clearly clouding the issue!
I spoke with a nurse who very reassuringly explained that in the grand scheme of things ideally 5 chemo sessions is aimed for, but most people manage 4 sessions – this would have been my 5th session. The chemotherapy represents about 7-8 % of the overall treatment outcome which I was aware of and it just put things into perspective. As long as the radiotherapy sessions continue that is key!
I have, in fact, been glad of the week break from the chemo as I have been feeling very weak – knock me down with a feather! The doc seemed to think that all should be ok for what will be my last chemo session this coming week. It’s been really nice this weekend not to pump steroids and anti sickness pills into me – to give my body a little rest from the continual onslaught.
Anyway, I turned up for radiotherapy, as usual, on Thursday and was asked if I knew about the blood transfusion the doc wants you to have? A blood transfusion!!!………….WTF (text speak expletive)
Am I going to be drained of all my blood and have fresh blood pumped back into me I thought – crickey, things must be bad right, that’s full on! I’m falling to bits…
I eventually met up with the Doc who explained that my haemoglobin was 11.7 when they’d like it to be 12 as the more oxygenated my blood the better outcome, statistically, for my overall treatment.
As a result, this Tuesday I’ll be getting 2 units of blood – I used to give blood quite frequently many years ago and now ill be getting some back – feels quite weird to be suddenly on the front line receiving somebody else’s blood!
So the week became quite eventful – oh I forgot to add – the radiotherapist commented on my weight loss and it had been noted during the last few weeks. She commented on my neck, my scrawny looking neck as it is now. The tight fitting mesh mask has gaps appearing which needs to be kept in check. The physicists who do all the calculations may appear this week, I understand, to see if indeed anything needs to be adjusted – clearly at this point in time they don’t want to delay treatment – that would be unsettling for me but I’ll go with it this week and see what happens, its all I can do.
This should be my last full week of treatment and then it will be Monday to Wednesday the following week and then, hopefully, that will be my 6 weeks of Chemoradiation treatment completed.
I have spent the last few days religiously pumping these protein shakes into me to make damn sure I don’t lose any more weight – it’s a full-time job and I certainly feel that if I lose sight of that then I may be admitted to hospital and probably force-fed hospital mash potato 24/7?
I could make a list of all the unpleasant and uncomfortable things but I’m also sitting here mindfully, in the moment with my breath, aware of embracing the good, the bad and the ugly – to find a balance and put things into perspective – I have these moments you know.
I always try to keep in the back of my mind that whatever happens, I’ll handle it.
I don’t like to tempt the gods and rest on my laurels – yes, I’m certainly chasing the end, which is insight, but I also have to reign myself in to the here and now.
Signing off for now.