Chemo with the works please!

Yesterday my blood test was ok – borderline, but ok to go ahead with chemo again. I’m very happy about this!

Don’t get me wrong. Not being poisoned is very enjoyable and I really think I could get used to it!

I think I just find action easier than inaction (maybe a control thing). Even daring bold and scary action sometimes seems preferable. When there is compelling evidence that chemo is helpful in cases like mine, I just want to get on with it. I am becoming more aware that acceptance, patience and waiting are quite challenging for me, although I’m sure I’m getting pretty good at it with plenty of practice lately!

My doctor thinks it might be best to lower my chemo dose by 20%, but first this needs clearing by the research team in the drug trial I’m on (even though it is chemo we would reduce, not the antibody dose). We are waiting while the question goes through something like 9 levels of international discussion. So yesterday I had full strength chemo again, and maybe there will be more delays ahead if my neutrophils continue to be slow in recovery. The specialist says this is not a certainty as my bone marrow will be adjusting all the time. She isn’t worried because my neutrophil count never plummeted to rock bottom – it was only slow to replenish. I have been really well and resisted infections.

Well it is a good question, Kerrie T, whether the trial drug is affecting my neutrophil recovery. The medical staff also discussed this possibility, but the specialist is pretty sure that carboplatin is the culprit. This cytotoxin (cell killer) is known to affect neutrophils in this way.

Did anyone else hear Mervyn Jacobson from Immunaid, Melbourne, talking on ABC RN Late Night Live about research into timing chemo for maximum benefit from the body’s natural immune cycle? (Thanks Anne. I’ve been writing a reply to your letter and keep getting interrupted.) I asked my oncologist about this and she said yes, so far the work is mainly with ‘non-solid’ cancers eg leukemia, because the immune cycle is to do with white blood cell production in the bone marrow. I said Jacobson mentioned ovarian cancer, and she said no results have been published yet but she’ll watch out for it.

It was a long tiring day yesterday, 8-6 at the hospital and my arm was sore after some problems with the canula, but it’s recovering quickly, and it’s nothing compared with some people. (Thinking of you, Bob, after shoulder surgery yesterday!)

You’ll be wondering if I did more art therapy? Not this time. What else is there to do that’s therapeutic around the hospital?

Have you ever felt like taking out your frustrations on a stuffed banana?

Who dacked B2?

I confess I was feeling mischievous and I had 10 minutes to spare after hours, so deliberately went out of my way to visit the Children’s Hospital foyer looking for the Bananas in Pyjamas. I’ve dacked B2 once before on an impulse last year. It shocked my family and resulted in great hilarity and therapeutic belly laughs. Imagine my surprise today to see his trousers already around his ankles! “It happens all the time”, answered a bored staff member when I asked. Well, I think it’s a good thing, and those crazy bananas may be serving a valuable function.

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