I went to see my oncologist last Friday and found out that my platelet levels are very low. Here's what I've learned about platelets:
- Platelets are the stuff that help your blood clot
- It is dangerous to have your platelets too low (think getting cut and not being able to stop the bleeding)
- Chemo lowers your platelets
- I have to have my platelets up to a safe level before they can give me more chemo
- There isn't a medicine or injection that can increase my platelet count (like there is for my white blood counts)
- If I was in an emergency situation, they can inject me with platelets from a blood bank
- Platelets have a short lifespan so if they injected me with some it would only be good if I was about to go into surgery, not for upping it for chemo
Here's what my platelets have been up to the last few months:
|click to enlarge|
My doctor told me we are going to have to "go with the flow". Anyone that knows me, knows that I'm more of a "stragetically plan then optimally execute" kinda gal. It is very difficult to see the calendar continue to get pushed out more and more.
The odds for beating this are already so dismal. Anything that extends the interval between treatments only increases the probability of me being on the wrong side of the curve. I really, really want to beat this, but oh so very little of this is in my control. The only thing I feel like I have power over is my attitude and outlook. So I try to stay positive, but after that there isn't much I can do except keep hoping and praying that God will spare my life. So I do that too.
On a happier note, your praying for white blood counts worked! My WBC were super duper high last Friday. So high that the doctor told me to stop taking the shots until the next round of chemo. Sweeeet. I've been going all kinds of places without a mask. It feels like freedom to know that my counts are high again.
If you are praying for me, please add platelets to your list of things to pray for. Please pray that they will also rebound at record speeds. Pray that I will be able to "go with the flow" and relax, knowing that God is still in control.
I went in to see the cancer psychologist while I was at the cancer clinic seeing my oncologist. I thought it would be healthy to check-in with him every now and again. He has gone through this with thousands of other patients but this is my first time doing this. I figure he probably has a few things figured out that would help me through this journey.
The biggest thing he offered me this time was perspective. For me, this is the saddest, most roller coaster-y I've ever been, so it feels very extreme. After our hour together he said that I was handling this whole cancer thing extremely well. So apparently on the spectrum of all cancer patients, I'm not doing so bad.
Another interesting analogy that he offered was about anti-depressants. I'm on a low-dose one, prescribed in a preventative manner. The OB and oncologist practically made me get on them after I delivered David. I was hesitant at first because I felt really good and was generally happy despite what was going on. But I knew I didn't have time to get depressed and be in a funk with two little kids to take care of so they convinced me to start taking it. And let's be honest, I need all the help I can get right now!
He said that anti-depressants are like a chair. A chair doesn't lift you up to the ceiling, just like these drugs can't make you happy, grateful, or hopeful. What it does is keep your bottom from hitting the floor. Many people ask him if the drugs are working and he asks them, is your butt on the floor? If no, then it's working.
This made me feel better because I always feel a little guilty when people comment on "how well I'm handling this," thinking that it is probably just the drugs doing it. He said the way I'm handling it is extrodinary and I told him I honestly can't take credit for it. Having joy in the midst of this situation isn't a testiment to my own mental or personal fortitude- it is the Holy Spirit at work in me. Being happy and positive right now is not a logical reaction to what I'm going through. It is only because of the strength I derive from my personal relationship with the Creator of the universe that allows me to respond in a supernatural way.
The family went to a birthday party for someone from church last Friday evening. We haven't been out socially as a family on a Friday or Saturday...ever? It was actually really fun. There were tons of other kids there so it made Noah running around a-okay. We didn't have to worry about him breaking anything or bothering people since everyone else had kids too and understood. David got passed around the whole evening. He never was set down once.
We are so thankful for the community we have at First Baptist of Allen. Everyone has been so supportive. It was fun to hang out and talk with everyone. I hope we can start to put a little more dimension to our family than just the "cancer family".
Over the next month we will have about 15 different people from out of town coming to our house. This week we have a high school friend and her family visiting, then my mother-in-law staying with us for a week, and Brad's uncles stopping by as well. Then two weeks from now I have six girlfriends from high school staying for the weekend.
We stepped up the house decorating/projects the past week or so trying to get ready for hosting everyone. It has been really fun putting the house together and has very successfully gotten my mind off of cancer. I'm thinking about it way less than I was before. It is so nice to be doing "normal person" things like going to TJMaxx Homegoods and picking out paint colors at Lowes.
Overall, I've been feeling really good physically after the second round of Taxol (no Carboplatin last time). I don't have any neuropathy symptoms yet which is fantastic. My energy levels are very high and some days I don't even take a nap. Mentally I'm staying positive and am generally very happy throughout the day. I never feel bored and my days pass by much too quickly. David is sleeping and eating well. He is ridiculously easy to take care of. Noah is a ton of fun right now and it's really fun starting to communicate with him through words. I'm exercising almost every day and walking or running around 10 miles a week. I'm thankful for this time I have to be at home to be with David, rest, and fight this battle.