Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Try Again Tomorrow

No chemo last Friday as scheduled. Here starts the “Special Karin Regimen.” We have no idea how my body will react to the Gemzar (Gemcitabine) so it’ll be a trial and error process – schedule and dosage determined by my body’s reaction. I have to learn to be more flexible than I thought I already was.

It was my platelets (the blood cells responsible for clotting) that took the hit. They were down to 67,000. Bottom range of normal is 150,000. It would have been unsafe for me to receive another dose, as decided by both Dr. Dailey and Dr. O as I sat in Dr. Dailey’s exam room waiting to hear what he’d decide to do. To get another treatment would likely knock my platelets down to the 20s after it took me to my low point and that could lead to dangerous nosebleeds or internal bleeding. Not worth it.

No doubt it is difficult when you get all geared up to get chemo and then it doesn’t happen. These days, especially, it takes a lot for me to get my mind ready to face it. I put together a snack pack and reading materials and plan my day around being at the infusion center for a couple hours. It’s an exhausting ordeal and even though I did not get chemo last Friday, I was almost as tired as if I had anyway from coming down off the build-up and just from sheer exhaustion – proven in my bloodwork.

But if my body wasn’t ready, it wasn’t ready. We have to wait for my platelets to come up on their own: there is no magic bullet to encourage them, only time. We will try again tomorrow, Wednesday. I have to keep my mind neutral. I may or may not get treatment. I may or may not feel like shit for the following few days. Sure makes it hard to plan for anything.

Positive news is that my other blood counts looked fine at Friday’s check. My white cells did not dip at all, so I got to escape any bone marrow stimulators like Neupogen and all the fun bone pain they bring. The lymph nodes that I’ve been able to palpate on my collarbone for months have reduced and my pain is better. The numbness in my breast now waxes and wanes with very strange feelings of cold, ache, to shooting pains, I suppose this means it’s waking up? I’m told this is likely nerve damage that will take a long time to heal. To my doctors and me this means that at least symptomatically, the chemo is doing what it is supposed to do. That assumption makes it easier to take.

I’ve been weaning off the pain patch, the nerve pain medication, and the steroids. Every day and every drop down I feel a little bit clearer, but the drops are tough as my brain and emotions try to catch up. It all makes me real tired. Pretty much I’m either in a real good mood or a real snippy mood. I look forward to flushing this all out of my system and stabilizing a bit.

Sidebar: These beautiful, artistic, hearty mugs inscribed with painted feathers arrived at our door. However, there was nothing to identify their sender! We so appreciate them – and of course the feather symbolism, which makes me know they are from a blog reader (mad detective skills). Let me know who you are so we can thank you! 

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