I was released from the hospital on Sunday. I was able to remain home until Wednesday afternoon when I was sent back to the hospital, where I still am. Everyone keeps saying it’s “where I need to be.” I understand this and guess I agree, but that doesn’t make it easier being in here.
My days at home were rough. I was very weak, lethargic, alternating from nauseous to hungry to not knowing what I wanted. I’d go from fevers to sweats to clamminess. Every tissue in my body hurt. It was obvious that the chemo was ravaging through me. I could barely walk up and down the stairs. My mouth began to fill with thrush and ulcers. I was not in any shape to take care of myself.
Craig took care of me on the weekend and in the evenings and my mom or sister or a combination of during the days. On Wednesday my mom and dad came together to take care of me. I was scheduled to go into the clinic for bloodwork, but I knew before getting there that things would be very low. I woke up with dotted bruises along my arms and my stomach and even around my eyes, indicative of low platelet count (the blood cells responsible for clotting). I now know that’s called petechiae.
I could barely stand getting to the clinic in Avon. They pricked my finger and ran my blood through the machine. My counts barely registered. I am very neutropenic, meaning no immune system. My white blood cells are 0.1 and the machine couldn’t even calibrate the breakdown of types of cells within that. My absolute neutrophil count was unreadable.
Most concerning was that – as suspected – my platelet count was only 6 K/uL. People are supposed to fall within the 140-440 K/uL range. Transfusions are usually done around 12.
Dr. Dailey didn’t want me walking around like that and didn’t like the low and high temperatures I was having, nor the symptoms I was describing. I got a direct admission back to the cancer floor I had come from just three days earlier. I’m still here and probably will be for a few more days. Despite having received the bone marrow-stimulating shot of Neulasta on Monday, my white cells haven’t started climbing yet. I’m on broad-spectrum antibiotic just in case there is an underlying infection. I’ve already received a bag of platelets and am right now waiting on a bag of red cells. I guess this is like a tune-up. However, they really don’t want to let me go until my white cells start trending upward and it’s tough to know how long that will be.
I’m wiped out for sure. But I signed up for this. I knew it was going to be hard. I guess it’s hard to imagine how hard it would get and it’s hard to remember that I’ve been this low before and I have come out of it. My doctors told me before we started that it was very likely I’d be back in the hospital after not too long receiving blood products and rebuilding while being monitored. No one sugar coated this for me, I just hoped I was going to slide through a little easier.