Saturday, September 17, 2011

OBB 1.0

So I had round 6 this past Friday and as you were all aware from my recent entries – I have been finding things a wee bit more challenging the last week or so. I had been feeling much more tired and worn out and sky high with anxiety. My fatigue was soon explained when my bloodwork came back. 1.0! WTF! I was literally on the edge of what was an acceptable white blood count (WBC) to get chemo and was in shock. How could this have happened and how could I change it? The nurses didn’t seem that concerned as I could still get my treatment this week but as my numbers had been consistently sliding downwards the last few weeks and I was relying purely on my own body’s function to produce new white cells - things might not go in my direction next week. I was also getting my treatment one day early next week because I was attending the National Breast Cancer Gathering for young women. I took my low WBC personally and couldn’t understand how my little guys could be halting production when I was young, strong and sorta looking after myself. The anxiety fairies then arrived and I started questioning why this was happening, what does it mean, is the medicine not working, is my body breaking down, how do I stay healthy with such little immunity and a child in daycare (AKA Germ Town USA)??? I think it’s time I sign up for that relaxation course eh? The annoying thing about WBC is that there is really nothing you can do to alter them (besides the shots I had to do earlier on in my treatment). Of course I googled my query and found lots of discussions on the matter. People talked about eating your body weight in strawberries, garlic, chicken livers, coconut water, etc….but doctors will tell you what your body needs its time and rest and nothing else can really work. How boring and equally frustrating. BTW – I did go out and buy coconut water today! 

So once the disappointment over the whole WBC situation cleared it was time to get down to business. My husband and daughter had joined me before my treatment as my daughter had her own appointment at the hospital that morning for her earlier peanut allergy attack, so once they were gone, it was just me flying this mission solo Maverick. I also had a new nurse whom I knew but didn’t know on an intimate -shove the needle in my vein - kind of way. She was a bit more by the book but was nice and was well aware of the crazy English girl’s anxiety over IVs. She managed to get the bugger in but she picked my poor little baby vein which we had used once before during the FEC days. It hurt and I could feel the salt water dripping in. It stung. I didn’t like it but had to channel my superhero powers and just deal with it. I was also the first patient in the room and once I was set up, I was left alone for a few minutes in silence before the real poison hit my bloodstream. I blame it on Adele and her love ballad, Someone Like You, because the strangest thing happened next. I cried. It wasn’t the pain of the needle but I think it was just the sum total of everything that caused those salty tears to flow. I was a bit embarrassed to be honest and explained to the nurses that I rarely cry and that I was indeed fine but having “a moment.” They were so nice about it and gently placed some Kleenex into my hands. I am definitely not the first to cry in the chemo chair. So after a few tears, I breathed in deeply and settled into the moment.

So a day after the C-Spa, I am battling a cold and wonder if I mentally tricked myself into getting it given my worries over my lack of a competent immune system. I am so frickin’ unbelievably impressionable! But I am trying to rest more, drink lots of tea and even guzzle that coconut water which let me tell you is not easy to locate in Norway! This week it is so important to put myself first and rest. My body clearly sent me a message this week. Time to slow things down and get myself to that finish line on time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.
OBB 1.0


  1. Hey Kate Warrior - I guess this is when the tough get going... and it seems to me that this crappy phase is mostly about accepting where you're at with the wear and tear of chemo (not unique by any means) and doing the basic smarts about resting, eating well, doing less and keeping anxiety manageable. I so wish you didn't have to go through all this suffering but since there is no option, I wish you restful sleep, good eats, happy moments, tons of hope to fill your veins, healing grace to increase that WBC. We know that you have an excellent medical Team OBB by your side. In addition, remember that there is a ring of love across the globe that surrounds you - you friends and supporters, some of whom you have not even met in person, who are carrying you in their hearts and sharing their strength with you to lighten your load. In the front of this loving procession is your loving Captain AC who wishes she could be there to help you in person. This too shall pass... abundant love and warmest of hugs

  2. Dear Kate,

    Just to let you know that you have never been forgotten and I am holding you tight in my daily prayer. (I am also undergoing through a very tough time now dealing with the impending,inevitable passing away of my dear mother. In and out of the hospital,witnessing pain and suffering everday is enough to make me feel exhausted,stressful and downhearted.)

    So sorry to hear that you had been feeling much more tired and worn out and sky high with anxiety. Well,try to think positively, even your bloodwork came back 1.0, it is still on the edge of an acceptable white blood count to get chemo. Of course, you must rest very well everyday to enable your body to function and produce new white cells. Things might still go in your direction next week. Eat nutritiouly, have plenty of rest and relax. Meanwhile,I think it's better that you take time to rest more than to attend the National Breast Cancer Gathering for young women. If possible, try to arrange caretakers to look after your little girl to allow yourself time to charge energy. I know it sounds easy but might be difficult to carry out. However, which is more immediate and important? As cancer patients, we have no choice but to learn how to let go and choose our priority. As you said, your body has clearly sent you a message, so it's time to slow things down to enable you to get yourself back to that finish line on time. You need to love yourself first. That's not selfishness, that's a necessity now.

    Hope you are feeling better and is more cheered up. After the rain you will see the sun. Keep on running with confidenc. Look ahead positively to embrace your finish line. It's getting close!

    Hugs and Prayer!