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anemia postponed my chemo 2.2.3

Posted Aug 28 2009 8:14pm

What a busy week. Work has been intense as we had two events and other business that even without the fatigue of cancer are overwhelming. Saturday I missed our big event of the year–our graduation banquet–because my white blood cell count is at the level that my cancer team advises patients to avoid going to places with gatherings of people. Contact with germs is too risky. In fact, I think I caught something from contact I had Thursday with several people coming in for meetings. Being the hug bug that I am, I completely forgot that I need to avoid that now. Shucks.

Friday I went for chemo and got my usual blood tests in advance. The result was that my hemoglobin was too low for me to go through the chemo. I even begged my hemonc to let me do it and promised even to eat some red meat (I’m vegetarian), but she said no, we can’t do it. I HATE missing chemo.

What I found out, though, about treating anemia for us who are dancing with the lion was that Procrit and other such drugs no longer play the role they once did. Even last time I went through chemo in 2004 I got Procrit when I became severely anemic. Recent studies show that those drugs that benefit the blood also benefit the cancer and help it to grow.

What do they do now? Transfusions. I’ll go Thursday for labs and then meet with my hemonc. If my anemia has remained the same or increased, they will give me a transfusion that afternoon. Then, I’ll be able to get my chemo on Friday.

No wonder I have been losing my breath going upstairs or walking at my brisk pace–not YOUR brisk pace LOL, which is about ten times faster–or even talking a lot. I have to stop and take a huge breath to keep going. Very funny when you’re trying to make a point. The fatigue has been undeniable. As soon as I sit down to relax, I instantly fall asleep. Soundly. So soundly that even strong shaking and shouting fail to elicit my wake-up. After I worked at the office Wednesday and Thursday, I lay down around 6:30 pm. Marvin could not wake me until around 10:30 or 11:00 to tell me it was time to go to bed. Yesterday I was so tired, I spent most of the day on the sofa, not even watching TV but out cold.

Today was nice. As I hate being inside, Marvin took me out, mostly for a drive. After breakfast we stopped at a couple of antique shops, where I looked a little and then basked in the sun waiting in the car. We also went to Buono Gente, a modest little place in Belmont Shore, that has the best espresso outside of Italy. They also have wonderful spumoni and freshly made, outstanding cannoli. SoCal has had a steady stream of June gloom, so today’s sunshine was a special treat.

Sheesh, even writing is tiring. Time for a break.

What a busy week. Work has been intense as we had two events and other business that even without the fatigue of cancer are overwhelming. Saturday I missed our big event of the year–our graduation banquet–because my white blood cell count is at the level that my cancer team advises patients to avoid going to places with gatherings of people. Contact with germs is too risky. In fact, I think I caught something from contact I had Thursday with several people coming in for meetings. Being the hug bug that I am, I completely forgot that I need to avoid that now. Shucks.

Friday I went for chemo and got my usual blood tests in advance. The result was that my hemoglobin was too low for me to go through the chemo. I even begged my hemonc to let me do it and promised even to eat some red meat (I’m vegetarian), but she said no, we can’t do it. I HATE missing chemo.

What I found out, though, about treating anemia for us who are dancing with the lion was that Procrit and other such drugs no longer play the role they once did. Even last time I went through chemo in 2004 I got Procrit when I became severely anemic. Recent studies show that those drugs that benefit the blood also benefit the cancer and help it to grow.

What do they do now? Transfusions. I’ll go Thursday for labs and then meet with my hemonc. If my anemia has remained the same or increased, they will give me a transfusion that afternoon. Then, I’ll be able to get my chemo on Friday.

No wonder I have been losing my breath going upstairs or walking at my brisk pace–not YOUR brisk pace LOL, which is about ten times faster–or even talking a lot. I have to stop and take a huge breath to keep going. Very funny when you’re trying to make a point. The fatigue has been undeniable. As soon as I sit down to relax, I instantly fall asleep. Soundly. So soundly that even strong shaking and shouting fail to elicit my wake-up. After I worked at the office Wednesday and Thursday, I lay down around 6:30 pm. Marvin could not wake me until around 10:30 or 11:00 to tell me it was time to go to bed. Yesterday I was so tired, I spent most of the day on the sofa, not even watching TV but out cold.

Today was nice. As I hate being inside, Marvin took me out, mostly for a drive. After breakfast we stopped at a couple of antique shops, where I looked a little and then basked in the sun waiting in the car. We also went to Buono Gente, a modest little place in Belmont Shore, that has the best espresso outside of Italy. They also have wonderful spumoni and freshly made, outstanding cannoli. SoCal has had a steady stream of June gloom, so today’s sunshine was a special treat.

Sheesh, even writing is tiring. Time for a break.

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