Yesterday was Day 5 of treatment and I started a new chemo: Asparaginase. I started that with no problems, and still don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.
Today, day 6 of treatment, I did not get chemo. In fact, I have a little break until Friday when I get 2 different kinds. I still get the Neupogen shots & steroids daily. Then will continue to receive more platelets and blood as determined by the blood tests they take every morning.
I feel like I still don’t understand a lot of what is going on with my body, so last night I had a nurse explain the 3 main things they check for in my blood everyday:
WBC: White blood cell count. Doctors measure it in thousands, but will often just say a number in between a range of like, 5-10. That’s a good range. Yesterday my count was at 5.1 and today my count was 5.6. Basically how it works is that the chemo will kill the white blood cell count and that number will get lower. When the number gets lower, that’s when I’ll feel really crappy. When it gets down to the 3’ish range, that’s when I will start being a lot more restricted since my immune system will be so sensitive. I most likely wont’ be able to see Ryan for a little while, I cannot have flowers in the room, won’t be able to get fresh fruit or vegetables, won’t be able to leave the room without a mask, any chance of visitors being sick won’t be allowed. They want to control everything as much as possible when it starts getting around 3 and lower. I know they can’t tell me what day my WBC will get down that low, but I did ask if there is a trend to it. The nurse said it tends to start getting that low around day 14’ish. I will have to double check with John on that number. I guess chemo gives you “chemo brain” that’s similar to “preggo brain”, so really you can’t trust anything I say 🙂
Platelets: My platelet counts are super low, which is why I bruise so easy. And why I can’t shave because if I cut myself I could bleed to death. (not shaving for a month vs. bleeding to death….. has anyone tried those things you see on TV where you can just rub the hair off??) So they test my blood every morning to see if I need more platelets, and I have been given platelets on most days I’ve been here. Here is a picture of my arm from when they tried to give my my IV the first day I was here. It really doesn’t hurt at all, but just gives you an idea:
Hbg: The red blood cells that carry the oxygen around your body, so this number has a lot to do with your energy level as well. I am thinking the normal range for a woman is around 12 and mine is around 9.5, so I have had to get blood the past couple days too. Again, I could be making up the normal range of numbers, but it’s somewhere in that ballpark.
I am a little frustrated because I had more to this blog entry and had edited it, but left it for several hours and my changes did not save. So now I feel like I’m leaving out some of what I wanted to say and probably have several incomplete sentences and it feels a little more negative than I want it.
So on a positive note, I’m feeling great today. I had quite a few visitors, some of my friends come up to bring me lunch, and had a dinner date with John in kitchen across the hall. This floor has a kitchen, library and a TV with DVD player you can rent so in the next couple nights we’ll have a movie date night. It might just turn out we get more date nights now than before 🙂