neutropenic

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I had my second chemo treatment on Wednesday.  Lots of new stuff to digest.  My white blood cells are down, particularly the ones that fight infection (neutrophils).  So I’m neutropenic, which means my immune system is not so much right now.  It’s an expected side effect, though not necessarily expected quite so early on.  

What does this mean for me?  It means more meds: an antibiotic, an antiviral, and an antifungal to fight anything that comes my way.  It also means I get to wash my hands and wipe down surfaces and wear a mask when I’m around people.  The hand washing and wiping is no big deal, but the mask…oh, the mask!  How freakin’ annoying!  It’s like having my head stuck under the covers all night – no fresh air.  And I can’t wear my glasses because they fog up no matter how I adjust the mask on my nose, so contacts it is.  Sunglasses I can sort of do since the lenses are so much bigger and I can slide them down my nose a bit.  I look like a cranky librarian-surgeon.

But I’m taking all of this as a good sign, because the cancer is in my white blood cells.  So if the good WBC’s are dying, then the bad ones are too.  The itching has gone down.  And the swollen lymph nodes have gone down.  My doctor says with this kind of cancer, we just power through the neutropenia.  We don’t stop treatment for anything.  That makes me glad; I want to keep going and get it done!

I also asked my doctor to cut my Zofran (anti-nausea) from 8 mg to 4 mg.  What a huge difference!  I can see straight!  I can type!  I can be awake and sort of make sense to other people!  I still have the 8 mg just in case I need it, but now I can take 4 mg several times a day without being high as a kite all the time.  Much better.  

I even made it to my playwriting class Thursday night, which I desperately needed.  I was at a standstill with my play, and hearing it workshopped aloud made quite a few things clear to me.  For one thing, I need to get to know my characters better.  They’re wishy-washy with their actions because I’m wishy-washy about them.  Okay, enough use of the word wishy-washy.  The point is, I’m still moving forward, I’m still living my life, and I’m still beating this thing.  To a pulp.  In the ground.  Insert your favorite violent cliche here, ’cause that’s what I’m doing to this cancer.

I got this.

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5 responses »

  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are such an amazing teacher and so patient with my son. We love you and are staying positive with you all the way through this journey!!! You and your family are lifted up in prayer daily by our family.

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