Monday, June 10, 2019

DAY 068 -- "Bantu The Sailor Man"

Ta-Da! (just because life needs more “ta-da’s!” these days).

Returned to chemotherapy today, and we did resume the regimen with a couple of med dose changes (as we’ve discussed, doc is playing it conservatively, onco-walking the I&I tightrope (Immunosupression or Infection), and my side-effected innards are almost back to normally outwards.

Some of my lab numbers are low, some high, but we needn’t get specific, unless you’re med-geek driven by hard data. For those amongst you who simply must know, let’s take my basophils, one of the several types of white blood cells we all have.

My basophils count today is 0.0 (it should register between one percent and two percent of my WBC (white blood count), coming in at zero to 0.3 cubic millimeters.

Basophils too low? Higher risk of infections.
Too high?  Lower immune power.

That’s the I&I highwire: my always walking and sitting two-tiered pyramid.

One backstroke bug in the soup today, as my IV insertion site blew (it happens) and the site infiltrated quickly. The fluid went off into the tissues, and because I was distracted at the time, wracking my brain for the five-letter answer to my ever-present infusion unit crossword puzzle, the clue for “Zulu language group,” I didn’t notice my arm until it looked like half a topside Popeye.

But, strong to the finich, and without the spinach, I recovered. Hot packs were applied, and a new site, opposite arm (four attempts and three nurses later), was inserted. Pre-meds and chemo drugs finished running-in successfully, and before I left  the unit (for the crossword geeks who I’m sure were one hand and arm ahead of me here), “Bantu” popped in my head and I finished the puzzle.

I took the rap for the arm bomb. I’m guilty of not drinking enough overall (more important when cancer and cancer treatments are in the big mix), thus my blood plumbing isn’t as optimal as it might be.

BUT, we’re back in the treatment groove, balancing in the air.

I biffs ‘em and buffs ‘em
and always out roughs ‘em
and none of ‘em gets nowhere

… I’m Bantu the Sailor Man.

More as we go,

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

DAY 067 -- "Watching The Door"

Now comes the next day, a few weeks later . . . .

You’ve adjusted to my timeline by now, realizing some time ago how we will compress or expand the timeclock and calendar in this cancer chronologue. Sometimes, we even move laterally; let’s just call that “pacing ourselves.”

I’ve learned, and am still learning in this life, that rigidity and attempting to always make everything a proper, snug and sequential fit will lead to constant disappointment, frustration, and ultimate madness.

Eventually, if we hold on too long to unyielding willfulness, if we leave no room to flex and embrace success AND failure, we’ll live to find ourselves stuffing sugar packets into bras and wearing two left laceless sneakers (taken from the miles I’ve spent pushing med carts down nursing home hallways.)

If you go along here suspecting that today was more than a yesterday or two late and/or out of synch? Let go of it. I have. The facts re-form to fit without compromising the tale.

Since our last outing on Day Sixty-Six, this has been such a sidewise pacing.

 Due to a change in my bowel functions (an immunodrug side-effect) that has been particularly nagging and disruptive, the Doc has held further chemotherapy treatments, though I’ve kept my infusion appointments to check labs, vitals, receive some supplemental IV hydrations and another dose of Remicade, a TNF (tumor necrosis factor) blocker which is used to treat everything from psoriasis to colitis.

In my case, it was nearly miraculous in bringing me back from the brink (Day Sixty-Four), and it’s not unusual to need follow-up treatments with same.

I’ve responded slowly, however, and today, we’re still not quite there. If you’d prefer TMI metaphorical over medicinal, let’s just say that my bowels are still acting like a cat not quite through licking the bowl.

But, the Doc is pleased with my labs, and I left the infusion unit today with tweaks to my steroid and antibiotic doses. There’s a delicate balance with the dynamics of immunosuppression and infection risks, so Doc moves with targeted caution.

We plan to resume my chemo regimen for the lung tumor next week. On my way out, I was served a plate of sugary blueberry cake, compliments of a fellow infusee “graduating” from his treatment today.

That cake may lead to harder stuff, but I risked it.

The latest MRI brain scan result showed no change there, and both my oncologists chimed “we’ll take that any day,” but my lung tumor had shown some small degree of shift/growth.

That made me feel like the trip down inside the elevator, watching the door: the light-muted surface showed only my blurred reflection, hardly recognizable, but it opened enough to deliver me for the next time in the right place.

More as we go, El   

Most popular posts (so far)