Tomorrow I have my 5th round of chemo. I've very curious to see what my blood counts will be. Two weeks ago my hemoglobin was at 9.7 and my white cells were at 3.1. If my hemoglobin drops below 9, I will likely have a blood transfusion. Every two weeks I have an injection that stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red cells, so I don't think it should drop below the magic number. My white cells are on their own though. The chemo drugs attack the healthy white cells along with the evil cancer cells. The reason behind the two week break between treatments is to give the healthy cells a chance to repair the damage caused by the drugs. Cancer cells aren't able to quickly self-repair. We hope that my white cell count will recover during the two weeks, but after the first two treatments it had dropped so low that I had to take an extra week off. If that happens too many times, I'll start receiving an injection for white cells as well. This is all more information than I ever wanted to know about blood counts.
I'll also find out tomorrow if I need to continue the twice daily shots of blood thinner. If my blood is thin enough, I can stop the injections and just take the daily pill. Unsurprisingly, I am really hoping for that. I'm getting little bruises all over my stomach from the shots. I wonder if it would make a picture if I connected the dots?
The last two sessions there has been a problem doing the initial blood draw from my portacatheter. This delays the treatment because they can't start until they get the results from the tests. Maybe with my newly thinned blood, it'll flow like a runny nose. Ew.
To prepare mentally and physically for this next treatment, I am heading to a superbowl party which will likely evolve into a poker game. It should be a lot of fun and a good distraction.
This blog was created by Christine Niemi to detail her experiences as she went through treatment for stage IV colon cancer. Christine passed away July 18, 2009. Her family and friends continue to update the blog with memories of Christine and colorectal cancer-related news. Thank you for stopping by!