Tag Archives: Chemo Side Effects

Even Lower This Time

Well, it turns out you just can’t tell what is going on. My treatment on Friday Sep 28 was cancelled because my blood readings were too low. This past week, when I went for my catch-up chemo (Oct 5) I was getting over a cold and I was feeling a little shaky but generally as well as could be expected. It turned out that my readings were even lower than the previous week, with neutrophils at 0.3 (0.9 the week previous). Wow! If you go any lower than that they whip you into hospital. Since I needed to be at 1.5 to get treatment I was sent home and told that they would skip that treatment entirely and start Cycle 6 on Oct 19. Apparently, this should have little impact on the overall outcome of the treatments.

In any event, this reading has taken me into the high risk range for being out and about in the world and running the risk of infection. I feel like a basic amoeba, with no developed subsystems to protect me. One description we have seen is that it is like standing at the edge of a forest fire armed only with a water pistol. So, I am being careful not to interact with people who may be infectious right now. Alex has bought us Purell hand cleanser for when we are out and about and we are washing our hands even more than usual. I have passed on my opera tickets to a couple of friends and will be staying close to home for the next week or so. The bone marrow should be getting back to work strongly enough for me to have the next treatment on Oct 19.

In Other News
The henna hat has now faded right away and I am thinking about what the next ornamentation will look like. I reckon the hair won’t start coming back till mid-November at the earliest so I’ve got some play time in there. Mind you, now the Fall has arrived it is pretty damn cool round the edges when you don’t have any hair!

We had our friends Ted and Ira over for Thanksgiving Dinner (having ascertained that they were bug free!). Alex spent all day preparing a fabulous feast of turkey, yams with sherry and cream, brussel sprouts (OK, I put them together) and excellent gravy and stuffing! Ira made a pumpkin pie, from REAL PUMPKINS!

My parents joined us on Monday and we heard about their adventures getting to know their new apartment and neighbourhood in Port Moody, BC.

Other than that life plods along with time passing quickly in some ways. I cannot multi-task at all so I feel I am getting nothing done and it is suddenly the end of the day. The drugs play tricks on one’s mental and emotional state from time to time, but this too shall pass.

Thanks to those who have written – especially my long-time friend MEL, who is now following along on the computer at her local library in Perthshire but still sends actual physical cards!

Not High Enough Today

[Oops – sorry if you just received a notice of a posting that wasn’t actually there. I was using some different software to load the image and I didn’t believe what was written on the button I decided to press!]

Anyhoo … here is a quick update just so you know the sort of thing that can happen from time to time if you or someone you know has to go through all this.

Blood Test

At the BCCA chemo is not administered if your blood counts are too low (reflective of the state of the bone marrow):
Platelets must be >100 (normal: 150 – 400)
Neutrophils must be >1.50 (normal: 2.0 – 8.0)

Turns out the reason I have been feeling so tired and lousy recently is that my platelet and, more importantly, neutrophil levels are still way down (99 and 0.9 respectively) and have not recovered from last week’s treatment. Fearing I had been over-doing things I asked what I could do to improve these numbers, which reflect the state of the bone marrow. The nurse said “Nothing”. Of course, I’ve been trying to eat well and will pile on even more protein and colorful and green leafy vegetables!

In any event, my chemo was cancelled today – in part because aside from low blood levels I feel I am “getting something”, although that might just be related to the struggling bone marrow. I am three quarters of the way through the whole treatment plan and the effects are cumulative.

Will make up the missed treatment next Friday, then have a week off and start Cycle 6 on October 19, I hope.

Met Opera Rheingold
Alex brought me home again, where I sat in front of boring daytime TV, reading the paper and doing nothing. Finally found that I had taped a documentary on the recent Met Opera Ring Cycle – phew!

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! We shall be seeing my parents installed in their new place in Port Moody, on the outskirts of Vancouver – it will be good to have them on the mainland again.