Chemo held for today

Last week caught me with induced anemia. This week, there was little change in my red blood count over last week,  and the white count was relatively low and platelets were also low. That’s a triple play in the Drip Factory playbook, so the oncologist held the chemo treatment for a week. As he intimated, we’ve been pushing really hard, and sometimes you just need to let the body catch up with itself.  He’s requested tumor count with next week’s blood work, so we’ll have a progress report based on those numbers. In short, my body has been working very hard and needs a rest. Whatever pluses the red blood cell shot gave me last week were probably used up fighting that bout of diarrhea over last weekend. That’s all gone, save for some residual gases, but any kind of intestinal whack like that takes it out of you.

So, he sent me home with instructions to sleep as much as I want and just take it easy and we’ll see how we do next week. I’m scheduled then for another shot of the red blood cell builder. Thanks to the company’s special program for people who cannot afford the meds, I will get these shots at a fraction of their cost. What might that run, you ask? Try $428 vs. $11,000 per shot. I really want to thank Amgen Corp. for allowing me to be in their program for the Aranesp, and also Novartis for the Zometa bone builder. I feel most of the time like the oncologist, who IMHO is close to genius, is holding me together with bailing wire and string. It humbles me, truly, and I’m very grateful for the care and consideration. I hope I can survive if just to give back somehow for all the other people who might have an advanced cancer diagnosis sprung on them — There just is no good way to tell someone they are living with cancer that cannot be cured. It can be controlled, perhaps, remediated — someday I want to see it eliminated completely as a human disease, and anything I can do to foster that belief is going to happen as long as I can pull a breath. Cancer is “meltdown” plain and simple, and no matter how you deal with it, changes how you look at everything from time and space to matter and energy!

Good things — my weight held at 141, and lo and behold, he picked up more air flow in my right lung through his stethoscope. This is a good thing, because it may mean the lung is really healing and the pleural effusion is shrinking. It feels different — my back basically feels more normal this week, and I know my breathing is stronger. At this point I’ll take whatever I can get. I know my body is working hard and I really trust this doctor to know when to hold ’em, etc. Breathing better is always a good sign.

The neck tumor itself is stinging slightly, seems to be getting smaller, and the breasts really look symmetric, with no sign of inflammation, or lymphatic swelling. The little lumps, mostly all near the surface, are going down in size, so maybe this thing is giving up part of it’s dynamic and the system is healing. I prefer to think it is rather than it isn’t, because although tired, I do feel better overall. What little pain I have is kept under tight control with generic Lortab (hydrocodone), taken in half-tab doses when needed. Even my  blood pressure is better.  The other script I take on an as needed basis is Lorazepam, which works for a lot of things for me, everything from mild anxiety (which I have and that is understandable) to nausea. It’s an amazing medicine and I’m very careful not to misuse it. I take as little as possible, but with any pain or anxiety condition it is important to keep it under close control so it never spirals out of control.

I’m doing my part here, and Lord knows I’ve been able to sleep through hurricanes, so that is not going to be a problem. Another plus this week, I’ve got a taste for certain candies, favored in my childhood, just thought up from some distant memory store in my brain — caramel cremes and Torrone — these taste really really good to me right now, and I can always use the calories.  We bought some at this morning’s run to Walgreens.  I love Walgreens. Their generic benadryl and other stuff is just a bargain, and works.

Kudos go to the hospital as well, for they’ve approved us in their charity program, and that is going to mean a very positive savings on our bills. It’s rare when two people in the same family have cancer at the same time, and it’s even rarer to be in a medical community where such an extenuating circumstance is dealt with so positively. Cancer is a very expensive disease, even with insurance, and for those of us who have none and are not even able to afford the simplest of policies, any help is a blessing. So I’m bringing down super positive mojo on the hospital, and may their programs flourish and their reputation expand accordingly. I can see why my late mother-in-law volunteered in their gift shop for so many years; she must have sensed the goodwill and dedication or she wouldn’t have given of her time. She retired from that duty at age 80, and passed away just recently at age 94, having outlived ALL her acquaintances there save one or two who mentored under her.

Though it may seem new-agey, I believe if you put out positive energy, it reverberates ten times over — anything it hits gets kissed with plusses — as we used to say in the 1960s, negative vibes help no one.

So I’m viewing my vacation from chemo this week as a positive time for my body to rest up — and plan on enjoying each and every second of my week!

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One Response to “Chemo held for today”

  1. Channeling Donald Sutherland’s character in Kelly’s Heroes for positive vibes.

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