Cell counts up!! TAC will continue.

My cell counts recovered so well that my oncologist asked if I had had to come in for a transfusion this weekend. No — so it looks like the Neulasta finally kicked in. AND — the really good news is that I get to continue on my TAC schedule. I forgot to ask my oncologist for the paper report, so I don’t have the stats.

Francois took Paul to his 4-year old check up. I figured the pediatrician’s waiting room would be a chemo patient’s nightmare. Poor Paul had five shots, but apparently he won’t need any more immunizations again until he’s 12.

Paul, at 4 years old, is 54 pounds and 45 inches tall. This continues to put him off the charts on height and weight — The pediatrician feels he’s proportional. He’s the height, weight and size of the average 6 year old.


Pinker and Perkier!

I spent today doing, well, absolutely NOTHING!

I did play a few rounds of Zingo with Paul.

But I’m feeling perkier tonight. I can empty the dishwasher without resting. I can make the kids’ beds without getting dizzy.

And I have PINK in my skin again!

I was trying to research how fast one can recover from low blood cell counts. I can’t figure it out. I’m hoping the white cells are recovering as fast as I can feel the red blood cells recovering.

And I’m hoping they find some wierd drug interaction to explain the severe reaction.

It’s so funny. I feel like it’s expected that I got breast cancer. But I feel betrayed by my body wimping out on the chemo!!

Sugar makes me feel better, although eating is not pleasurable (It’s not unpleasurable, but it’s just not pleasurable) — so I’ve had a couple of bowls of mint ice cream and a few squares of chocolate.

So guess what? The canary is still living!! I can kill off all my blood cells and still have the hair on my knee standing strong.

Go figure.


Low blood cells counts feel REALLY BAD

Wednesday I started sagging. I didn’t have any endurance. Even listening to someone talk for more than five minutes wore me out.

Thursday I drove straight through a red light — while other traffic was going through!! I could have caused a deadly accident. It’s like I was suddenly asleep at the wheel or something. If I carried a couple of bags of groceries from the car up the stairs to the front door, I couldn’t make it up the stairs inside the house to the living room. I had to sit down on the bottom step and rest.

Resting a few minutes seemed to give me what I needed and then I would be OK again.

I knew with the crappy feeling I had Thursday night that I’d need to go in and see my oncologist Friday morning.

Fridaty morning the kids try two times to get me out of bed. I finally managed to drag myself to the dining room and sit down. I got Delphine and Paul’s breakfast ready, but had to take frequent breaks. At the end, I was so worn out I had to sit down at the table again. I couldn’t get up. I managed to get up once to try and start Delphine’s lunch, but moving 2 feet to the freezer and opening it completely depleted me.

I decided to just sit at the table and let Francois make Delphine’s lunch when he came home.

But sitting there, I started feeling worse — and worse — and worse. I knew Francois should be home any minute, so I didn’t call 911. But by the time he walked in the door, I was losing consciousness with my head on the table. So he called 911!

And of course, by the time the cute, young firemen appeared, I felt much better. I could stand. They took my blood pressure (80/50) and we promised to go straight to the hospital.

My blood counts are very low — and my oncologist thinks she is going to have to rethink my whole chemo treatment. She’s trying to figure out why I didn’t react this way with the first cycle. I *did* take the Neulasta! The nurses were my witnesses.

Maybe it’s that magic new anti-nausea drug??

Anyway, now I’m all into shocking you all with my stats. I do love the attention (LOL).

Here are my scores:

White Blood Cell 0.4 K/uL
(Normal is 4.1 – 10.9 K/uL)

Red Blood Cell 2.86 M/uL
(Normal is 4.2 – 6.3)

HCT 27% They give you blood transfusions when you’re at 25%
(Normal is 37 – 51%)

Platelets 45,000
(Normal is 140,000 – 440,000)

I’m on day 8 after chemo. Apparently your lowest cell count is usually around day 10. I’m hoping I just tend to process faster and my cell counts will start going up NOW!!

Low blood cell counts feel like the worst flu you’ve ever had in your life, without the vomiting and with no recordable fever. I FEEL like I should have a 105 degree fever, but I’m still at 98.6

Here’s the good news — Our pantry is STUFFED with delicious Belgian chocolate. Thank you Jerome, Victor and Martin!!

Cars and 4-year olds

The reality of being a mom going through cancer treatment has so far not lived up to my fears. It’s absolutely all about the support I float on. Instead of being overwhelmed when I get hit with some fatigue or general chemo crummies, I feel quiet. And quiet is what my children need from this mom.

Boy, do they like the quiet attention.

They talk.

Some of my achi-est days are some of our best days. Delphine talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks …

Have I mentioned that Delphine likes to talk?

And she doesn’t lick her hands anymore.

And she doesn’t need to pee every five minutes anymore.

And she doesn’t have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep anymore.

Delphine has been more worried about her mom ‘changing’ than anything else and she focused on the physical changes that would happen to me. Now that her fears have materialized, she’s doing really well.

She still feels some stress. The other day, she asked me a question that required a ten word answer and I launched into a 10 minute discourse of the world-according-to-Suzy. It’s enough to send almost anyone sneaking quietly out of the room.

And that’s what she did. I told her she I know I can get annoying like that, but she needs to just tell me. Because when she left without telling me, she hurt my feelings.

We’ve actually had this discussion before — because, well, I’m incorrigible.

This time she burst into tears.

Paul, ironically, has been more worried about the big traditional things — death and illness — and how they might affect him.

He’s been worried about his preschool teacher having ‘a cancer’ (He doesn’t. He just wears a bald head as a fashion choice.). He’s asked his papa if he was going to die and when. He’s asks
his little 3 and 4-year-old friends what their mothers and siblings would do if they died.

Yesterday, he looked at my earrings (Earrings are a new chemo thing for me. I stopped wearing earrings when Delphine became old enough to grab.) and he said “When I grow up, Maman, I’m not going to get pierced ears.”

“You don’t want pierced ears?”


“And,” he says, “I’m not going to get a cancer either.”

“OK” I say.

Canary Updates: Little gnomes have moved in, but there are fewer of them this time around. The canary is getting chapped (Chapped knees!! How funny!), but I’ve developed a morning sickness like BLECH response to the smell of my lovely body cream, so I’ll have to go find another less lovely smelling one. I get suddenly VERY TIRED, but then, boom, a short rest, and I’m better.

We bought a 2007 Grand Caravan!

My $450 wonder pills

I was pretty tired this weekend, but outside of Friday afternoon, only felt a slight bit under the weather here and there because of my $450 wonder pills. I still couldn’t do the lay-on-the-ground physical therapy stretches without feeling seasick though. And I was too tired to go out and look for a minivan.

Emend gives you a free sample for one chemo round. Now I need to find out how much my insurance will cover. I’ve four more chemo sessions at $450 a session for Emend. That’s $1800 just for a bit of weekend comfort.

I think I’d rather get a piano and barf a bit.

Wierd thinking.

It makes me angry for people here in the U.S. who have to make decisions that will impact their health, not just their comfort, because of the lack of a national infrastructure around healthcare.

The first regiment of tiny axe wielding gnomes have moved in. So now I know it’s the taxol as well as the neulasta that causes this. I’ll have to remember to go get my shot of neulasta tomorrow morning.

I wonder how much ‘real’ chemo patients drink? You get all of these instructions about keeping fluid intake high — 2 liters a day! I can barely sip down a liter in one weekend. It’s just, well, oogey.

(Note to my French audience — ‘Oogey’ as far as I know, is not a word. It’s just the right combination of sounds to illustrate what liquid drinks feel like.)

And here’s so other odd facts. Egg yolks and leafy plants (spinach, herbs, arugula, etc.) taste like a dirty wet dog smells.

But in general, I feel like I’m getting off too easy. I was relieved to lose most of the rest of my hair this weekend for fear that I might be immune to chemo!

Me and the gnomes are going to bed now.