Chemo Session #4 – Wearing a pair of my fav Louboutins…showed up early, blood taken, chin zapped, $20 in my pocket – the same old same old. Then the waiting game began…I waited, and I waited, and I waited – you get the point. Soon I realized that I was the only one not getting called for a chemo room. Maybe it was because I asked for one with a window.
The nurse at the check-in desk said they were still waiting for my blood count. So back to waiting some more – at least an hour more than usual. I was on the brink of tears when the nurse came over and nonchalantly proclaimed, “I should have told you sooner but your white blood cell count is too low to give you chemo. The doctor’s assistant will see you soon.” The floodgates opened and I burst into tears. What did this mean? Everything is supposed to go like clockwork, isn’t it?
I got called into the doctor’s office, but before I could speak, his assistant said, “FINALLY!” Finally, what? Seeing my tear-stained face, she assured me, “This is a good thing!” I stopped blubbering and tried to take in her words. Apparently it is a good thing. She went on to explain that it means the medicine is doing what it is supposed to do – kill cells. Having worked with Doc Schuster for eight years, she has never known anyone going through chemo for lymphoma who was not neutropenic (the technical word for a low white blood cell count) at some point.
She rattled on matter-of-factly that this week I would not have chemo and we would begin again next week, same time, same place. Though, I would have to give myself three shots of Neupogen this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and every two weeks until chemo was done. Supposedly, these are self-administering injections, but I don’t know anyone who could do this…thank goodness I have a doctor in house who has forty years experience.
I would also be taking Benedryl thirty minutes before the shot and then Percocet if it hurts really badly. What Neupogen does is promote the production of white blood cells, so it’s gotta be produced somewhere and that’s the bone marrow in your hips and mediastinum. Great…another thing.
I started to complain that missing chemo meant that my one plan of the summer – going to see a dear friend on Fire Island – would now no longer happen. As I started to moan about my predicament, the assistant said, “oh yes I know it’s inconvenient, we have an 18-year-old patient who had to miss her prom, graduation and after party all because her treatment was knocked off by a week.” OK, how stupid did I feel. Poor girl!
The Neupogen is annoying but nothing I can’t handle. I feel it but I haven’t had to take the Percocet more than once or twice. Kinda scared to like it too much considering how addictive it can be and you feel great when you take it.
So off for a week – it was like a holiday.
CHEMO #4½ – I felt that my previous Louboutins didn’t have a proper chemo session and, as they are one of my favorite pairs, I decided to wear them again. This next week a new outfit, a high white blood cell count and fab shoes…I was raring to go.
Bloods, zap, $20 and wait for the doctor. He was there on arrival and I heard from his own mouth that he had been getting worried that my white blood cell count was NOT going down and the chemo was not doing its job but now he could rest easy. He threw in that, as this was the end of my second cycle of chemo, it was time to plan a PET/CT scan. I was to have one next week and then he would see where I was and how I was doing and how many chemo cycles I had left. He dismissed me to carry on.
A room with a window, a great nurse who was the best so far, Reiki and out. The best a session could be…but I was left with those big questions rattling around in my head. A PET/CT scan would verify if all this was really doing anything. What if it didn’t, what next…My beau would be here then, how would he handle the news if it’s bad…well, I would have to wait and see.
1. A WEEK OFF
Although I was sad to cancel my plans, it was great to have a week off. My hunger came back, I wasn’t sick to my stomach and I felt well and truly like myself. I even think the hair on my legs started to grow again. I felt like me.
2. MASTER INJECTOR
There is nothing wrong with asking for help – we know that already. I am lucky to have a doctor in my house so he gives me my weekly injections. If you don’t have the luxury of having a doc at home with you, ask for help! If you can’t do it yourself, then tell the nurse and you can come in every day and they will do it for you.
I think it is good to be in the loop. I love my Doctor but I don’t think he realizes that not everyone can understand everything he says. I think he said that people do get a reaction to Bleomycin and that my white blood cell count might go down but I guess I didn’t really comprehend what this might mean. I should have asked him more questions.