I am literally stunned, speechless. My jaw is slack, and the nurse is peering expectantly, almost impatiently at me. Five hundred and sixty.
Five hundred and freaken' sixty.
That is my ANC this week, or all over neutrophil count. Those are white blood cells. You probably have an ANC of at least 2,000. I had 7,000 when I started chemo. So, there's that.
Kathy, the nurse, is patiently, calmly, clinically explaining to me that chemo "just caught up to you." That I have been lucky up until this point. And then, the blow. You can't have chemo today.
It was supposed to be my last day. Or the start of my last day. Now, Kathy is explaining that I will need not only two, but three days of neupogen. The neupogen that had me near crawling up the stairs, clinging to the bannister for dear life. The neupogen that had me with tears in my eyes from pain at my friend's wedding from standing. The neupogen which caused pain that was immune to DILAUDID. I try to take it in stride, but my eyes fill with tears when Kathy walks away. I look to my husband and see the pain reflected there. I feel my sister in law rubbing my arm, and her pain is palpable too.
It feels like I'm dying. Seriously. And I know I just need some perspective here, because I walked into this cancer center today cocky as hell. I was so happy. It was bound to end at some point. That same morning, actually, we noticed there was a banking error and everything was screwed up. My husband was, naturally, wigging out. I told him, Jim, there are big things in this world, and little things, and this banking issue (which is actually a huge, complicated issue involving about a million overdrafts due to a hotel's billing error,) is a small thing. When I was saying it, I was really thinking, holy crap, how are we ever going to fix this and pay our bills? But, it turns out I was right. That was not the worst thing to happen to us that day.
Dr. Sehbai comes to see me and there is pain in his eyes, too. I tell the nurse I am crushed and she confesses that the doctor is too. Just writing this, my eyes are filling with tears, thinking about all the support and love that surrounds me. I am so truly blessed. Dr. S explains that with a count this low, I should not be going out to restaurants and stuff. Bummerrrrrrrrrr. We totally had dinner plans! He says if they give me chemo, I could drop down to having no white cells at all, and end up in the hospital with an infection. I really don't want to risk my life, so I think I'll listen to the good doctor. Besides, what else am I going to do? Hold a nurse hostage and force her to infuse my chemo? Yeah, don't think so. But you have to admit, its a funny mental image. THIS IS A STICK UP! GIMME MY CHEMOS!!!! Hah! I'm here all night, folks.
So, what are ya gunna do? No chemo, no problem!
They wind up giving me the neupogen and scheduling my chemo for Thursday. It is less of an issue to delay chemotherapy, since I am in remission and undetectable (YES!) But, it is still a hassle. I have to go back to work on the same day, regardless, so it increases my chances of being neutropenic when I return, which is kind of hard. I would wear a mask and wash hands like crazy, but, like, its not bad enough I have to wear hats to hide my bald head? Let's add one more thing that makes it look like I had cancer. Ugh. Oh well, I should really stop being such an ego maniac! No one cares if I am wearing a mask. Although it does get warm under there. They will check my ANC again Thursday and possibly give me chemo then. It is planned for me to have chemo that day, but I say possibly because, well, look at what happened Monday.
I was flying so high! The worst part is, we had friends who were going to visit this weekend, dear Lisa and Irving. One of our favorite couples. Here they are at our wedding:
In the interest of not, you know, killing me with some life threatening tiny infection that they do not even know they are carrying, they cancelled their trip. They are so cool though, they were going to ride their motorcycle here! They are going to Vermont now, instead, I think. We love them and will miss them so much, and hope to see them after I finish chemo!
So for now I am hiding in my house. My in laws are coming over today. Christa is in town and is really enjoying spending time with her nephew. I'm going to finish this blog on a happy note, by posting a few pics of her visit and Jack. Because sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from crying. And that is okay.
Here is Jack, watching some preseason Bills football. He's got his beer, remote, and snacks. He actually screamed through the first quarter, slept the second, and played with his Aunty the second half. So, a great time was had by all!