(Pink Floyd reference)
Son of Chemo: They take three vials of blood every week prior to giving chemo. I am not sure it is a fair exchange :). In any event, I know that one reason they do so is to monitor my red blood cells and my white blood cells. In particular, because of the recent staph infection, OncoMan is concerned about the white blood cells.
He is not alone. Pretty much all of my other doctors figured that by keeping me on antibiotics for another month they would be forestalling his efforts to provide chemotherapy at this time. They were wrong. I wonder if they are playing a tug of war, sometimes, with me as the rope.
Anyway, when I went in today, OncoMan was concerned almost exclusively with one potential effect of last week’s treatment: fatigue. It didn’t take long to figure out why – my white blood cell count is down. He said “It’s not dangerous”, which to me is a bit like stating the obvious – you don’t need to do it unless it ain’t so obvious after all.
I did go ahead with the chemo today, but next week, I will get a little booster shot of some kind on Monday (a 24 pick-me-upper called nuprogen or some such) and if that works, I will continue with my chemo on Tuesday and THEN take something called nulasta (sp?) on Wednesday that is supposed to last for two weeks: just in time for my next chemo session.
The man is an organizational genius :).
I should note that my nurse/chemo person was like day to last week’s night. For one thing, she was a woman. For another, she took immaculate care in ministering to me. To get my veins good and risen, for example, she put my arm under a heating pad for several minutes. A first for me. And it worked. She did a number of small things like this that made me think she really cared about my well-being and my allergy to pain:). Still, every time someone puts on a rubber glove and makes that snapping noise with it, I tighten up in the strangest places and today was no exception.
Today I also talked to my fellow survivors a bit, albeit upon leaving the joint. My natural shyness, I guess, is being overcome :). I’m not saying I am looking forward to the next session, but I have discovered that several of my compadres in chemo are intelligent, inquisitive, well-read, and interesting. Hopefully those attributes will not keep them from talking to me from time to time.
It IS better to have that thing going on, you know? I could sit there and read and listen to music, as I am wont to do, but it is so much more pleasurable interacting with others. Leaving today I felt much more positive about things, just from having shared a few minutes with these folks. Actually, saying “Take care” to them as a group made me feel like part of something bigger than myself, part of a mission, if you will, a mission to survive perhaps.
Belonging is cool. Maybe next week I’ll be comfortable enough with them to chemo in the nude :). We’ll see.