I realized after I took the picture below, just how pale I am. Yikes. Looks like the tanning bed is pretty much out for life now though.
So I’ve mentioned before, the importance of white blood cells. Here is the run down on those whitites: The five types include neutrophils, lymphocytes,monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Did anyone even know that there were five different types of white blood cells? ..Aside from you doctor types, that is?! I know I didn’t! The Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white cells in a healthy person’s body. Throughout this whole process, although my white count was consistently in the severely low to non-existent category overall, my neutrophils have been around 22-30. (Still EXTREMELY low). But on Weds, when I had my labs drawn before starting round #7 of chemo, it showed my neutrophil count at .5. LESS THAN ONE. uggh. When I asked my doctor why this was, she really couldn’t provide much of an explanation. Sometimes it just happens when you’re going through chemo, and still have a lot of cancer in your body at the same time. (like me). Still, I would have been able to get chemo even with such a low count, had I not also had a 99.5 temperature reading. This is typically a sign of the start of neutropenic fevers.
Febrile neutropenia is the development of fever, often with other signs ofinfection, in a patient with neutropenia, an abnormally low number ofneutrophil granulocytes (a type of white blood cell) in the blood.
This happened to me once before toward the beginning of my treatment, landing me in the hospital for 10 days, and postponing my chemo. So from now until next weds when my chemo has been rescheduled, I have to take my temperature twice daily, to ensure that it does not get to 100 degrees or above. So far so good, except that my night sweats have started up again. I’m not really sure how one week of postponing chemo will guarantee that my neutrophil counts will increase, but my doctor seems to think that it just will. Whatever. So long as I get this stupid f*king chemo, that I both love and hate at the same time. When I was in the hospital, all of my doctors emphasized the extreme importance of receiving chemo on time for the type of cancer I have, which is why they still typically give it to you when you have low white counts, so this is a little scary for me. Unfortunately however, there is absolutely nothing I can do in the mean time so increase my counts….except wait.
PS–because the majority of the cancer is in my spleen, I also have low hemoglobin levels. Not enough to land me with another blood transfusion (thank God because I STILL can’t get that taste out of my mouth two months later), but enough to make me the lovely shade of pale as shown below. When people refer to caucasians as “white people”, I often think….not really, its more like peach or maybe even a Bosch pear shade. but NOPE. not me. I. am. super. white.
So that is currently where I’m at with the chemo! I received my rituximab only (one of my awesome chemo drugs), which does not have the same side effects as the ABVD (the other chemo drugs), with the exception of the pain meds and allergy meds they give me just prior. So at least I’m not down for the count this week AND next week!! The sucky part is that if my neutrophils don’t increase by next week/elevated temperature again, it looks like I will be spending more time in the hospital. again. Eff that noise.
I had my follow up brain MRI yesterday. We should receive the results in a few days. Although nothing screams “HOT!” more like a swollen brain stem, I’m really hoping that the swelling has gone down. Again, I’m not experiencing any neurological side effects that would suggest an increase in swelling, other than those weird voices and floating unicorns…jk. (note: when the neuro oncologist asked me if I was experiencing hallucinations, I once again laughed and asked her how would I know?! If I was hallucinating, wouldn’t I believe things were there? lol oh doctors. Smart and no sense of humor. I mean come on, cancer is hilarious!)–anyways I wasn’t experiencing any of that stuff, so that’s good. Fingers crossed for a good result, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about it until then. Not to mention, I’m pretty busy with potty training these days anyways.
*Note: When my infusion nurse wished me a happy Easter, I frowned and said “Ya. If I make it until then”. I waited through the awkwardness for a little laugh…she seemed to not find that too funny. So, as per my experimentation results, infusion nurses also=no sense of humor.
A friend of mine recently told me about someone they knew from work who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, and was just starting chemo. She referred her to my blog. Welcome to hell biotch! This is where good spirits and positivity come to die!
–AHH just kidding girl. If I can do it, so can you. Because I’m a total p*ssy.
In other news, as you can maybe see from the pics below, my hair is totally growing back. It’s really course feeling, and is growing longer is certain spots over others, but heck, I’ll take it!
1) As per usual, please say some prayers from my friend Kris, as well as my friend Katie’s brother Marty. If you could also keep my neighbor John in your prayers as well, that would be great. John is an amazing man who is battling some pretty awful cancer.
2) Shout out to my buddy Jason, who is officially moving to Cincy. Sure will miss you at work, dear friend. Thank goodness for email and messenger, where we can continue to judge people instantly.
3) For my Aunt Laurie and Uncle Randy, who have admitted to me that they need to Google the majority of my one-liners and slang: “biotch”=term of endearment for fellow female cancer patients. (I will be sure to leave you a glossary of terms at the end of every post from here on out. I’m afraid of what you might accidentally Google otherwise.)
4) As always, for my husband, who loves me through and through–even when I’m bitchy or sobbing for no reason at all. I love you babe. God certainly had a plan, sending you my way.
5) I have learned a valuable lesson this week. Never give my kid a peep. He goes NUTS.