Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Sunday, November 26, 2006

One Step Forward, 13 Steps Back

Last Monday, I went in for my weekly blood tests. As you may remember, I am waiting for my platelet count to reach 100 in order to finish up my last few sessions of chemotherapy. The last couple of weeks have shown improvements... very small improvements, but this week was completely unexpected.

Yes, that's right. I went from a count of 73 on November 14th to 60 on November 20th. That is not the direction that I want the numbers to go. On the bright side, that does seem to support the idea that the Avastin is contributing to my ongoing lack of platelets. We have been continuing the Avastin treatments every six weeks because most patients have no problems with their blood counts on this drug. (It is a monoclonal antibody (biotech drug), not a chemotherapy drug.) As a matter of fact, less that 10% of patients on Avastin have problems with low platelet counts. Who's in that minority? It's me! I am having an extra blood test ordered this week for the heparin-induced platelet antibody. I have already been tested for another platelet antibody and the test came back weakly positive so it is unlikely the cause for the low counts. I'll have to wait a while to get the results of this second test. It takes a couple of days instead of 30 minutes like most of my labs.

My INR is still low as well so the oncologist covering for Dr W increased my dosage of coumadin again. I'm alternating between 10mg and 12.5mg per day. She suggested that I talk to Dr W about switching to Lovenox since it has been so difficult to keep my INR levels theraputic. I'll talk to him about it, but I am very much against the idea. Lovenox is a daily injection and I don't want to do it. I have come very far in getting over my needle phobia, but at this point, I do not want to try self-injections. So there.

And I do have to acknowledge that I am a total dork because I really like putting together a graph to illustrate my platelet counts. Seriously though, doesn't it help you get a better overall picture of what has been going on? If I had more time, I'd do more graphs for all different kinds of things, but free time is scarce and Christmas is coming which means there is lots and lots to do.


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