September 17, 2013

More Delay

So I show up to my chemo clinic on Monday (yesterday) for my delayed round of chemo and guess what …. my white blood count hasn't budged one bit! Certain chemotherapy drugs can damage bone marrow. Bone marrow makes blood cells, which grow rapidly, making them very sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy kills many of the cells in your bone marrow, but the cells recover with time. The doc put me on Neupogen. It's a shot I'll get for the next three days. It's suppose to stimulate the production of granulocytes (a type of white blood cell). 

Apparently I have a few things going on with my blood work that are not good when it comes to chemo, however the low WBC is the one of most concern at this point. For those who like statistics here are a few from my blood work….

WBC should be 3.8-8.6 - mine is at 1.8 (1.85 a week ago!)
RBC should be 4.20-5.40 - mine is at 3.45 (up from 3.34 a week ago)
Platelets should be 140-440 - mine ate at 93 (up from 86 a week ago)
Neutrophilis Absolute (# of each of the 5 white blood cells) should be 1.9-8.0 and 
        mine is at .41 (down from .85 a week ago)
Lymphocyte Absolute (% of the 5 WB cells in my body) should be 0.90-5.20 and    
        mine is at .68 (up from .59 a week ago)

So there you have it - the reasons I didn't get chemo on Monday! Now I go back for more blood work on Wednesday to see if the shots have helped. Then I meet with the doctor to discuss how to proceed. The only good thing with this delay is my ability to eat cold stuff (ice cream, shakes, etc) is back and I've been eating ice cream every day! Now if only I could eat sushi I'd be SUPER happy!! 
My favorite medicine!
It is times like this that I am ready to throw in the towel. I seriously believe if my white blood cells are almost dead - then wouldn't the cancer cells be dead too? 

It's hard when I had expectations that I would be done in October and back to work in November. Now I need to push it back two weeks… if it happens again, I'll be pushing it back even more. NOT what I wish to do! Especially since the last four are the worst thanks to the cumulative effects of chemo! Grrrr. I have my contingency of supporters telling me I can do this and I am strong, but I've given up almost this whole year to deal with cancer. It started April 4 with my colonoscopy and now it's almost October and I don't see the end any time soon, I just see more delays. At this point I'm not sure what I'll do except take it one day at a time. If I bail on the last couple chemos, then so be it. I've spent too much of my year on this and I want to start living again! 


  1. Hi Linda! I follow your blog all the time, I don't think I've commented before (chemobrain, hard to remember...)
    I had the same problem as you, my blood counts started dropping fast and I just scraped in to be allowed to do my fifth cycle. I did some research and started taking wheat grass. I know there are so many quack remedies out there, and I don't go in for anything not proven, but wheatgrass has had several promising studies done, so I thought 'why not try?'.My white blood cell count, red blood cell count and hemoglobin fell much less after one week of taking it, and when I did the next blood tests three weeks later all of them were UP, and this is without Neupogen or anything else. I have now just finished my last treatment, one more week of xeloda to go. So, try it, it may just work for you too! Anyway, I don't think it can hurt, my oncologist didn't mind me taking it.

  2. Hi Lesley - I'll have to get wheatgrass a try. Where can you buy it and how do you prepare it? We use to have Jamba Juice here and they served it - but they are closed now. Also - CONGRATS on your last treatment!! BTW what is Xeloda? I don't believe I've heard of that med, but I also have chemo brain :-)

  3. Hi Linda! Thinking of you and hoping you have no more treatment delays...ugh. My mom finished her induction chemo in July (inoperable head and neck cancer, stage IV) and her onc mentioned Xeloda as a possibility for next line of treatment (but she's not physically able to tolerate more treatment right now). When I looked it up, it seems it's a pill form of 5-FU. You're strong, you're brave and you're almost done with your treatments!!

  4. Hi Terri,
    Thanks, I hope for no more delay too! I hope you're mom is doing ok and at the very least, not in pain. There are so many different types of chemo drugs and I've never heard any positives about any of them. :-(
    The 5FU they give me every two weeks is making my feet and hands numb to the point I find it hard to walk at times and typing clumsy at best. I heard that can last for months or be permanent. Gonna have to dial down on the 5FU next go around for those reasons.
    Hang in there with your mom - I'll say some prayers!

  5. You're almost done! :-) In south Florida now with mom, once again, and thanks for the prayers. I'm hoping you're down to the last treatment and that you kick its butt around the world. What a journey, what a year....I think by the time Santa comes 'round you should be feeling good! Sending positive thoughts, hopes, wishes your way and (from the old Catholic in me) God bless-- Big hugs, Terri