Sunday, June 16, 2013

No Chemo for You

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us." Henri J.M. Nouwen

Well I am on what should be day 4 of round 3 but instead I am sitting here in front of my computer pondering life. I have been lucky I guess in some ways - most of my treatments have gone off without a hitch and maybe because of that I didn´t really think anything would get in the way this time either. I went through the motions Thursday morning preparing myself and everyone else for the day and week ahead. The stress and anxiety that arise from this experience can be tough to manage but I am used to it and just soldier on. My mother joined us this time for round 3 and when we arrived at the hospital in the pouring rain, I knew it was game time. After putting my port in and taking the necessary blood samples, we waited. We waited and waited in the patient lounge which to be totally honest is so utterly depressing. There are many people there who are very sick and many of them (if not most) have more then a few decades on me. They smile at me and probably wonder why I am here and what is wrong with me. Or maybe they don´t and it is just my own self consciousness making assumptions. We met the doctor who I hadn´t met before but he definitely knew me. He said that he had heard about me and had wanted to see me in person. When I asked why, he said "We all take a special interest in our younger patients and you also have a very unique patient history." We went through my list of issues that have arisen since the last treatment and he delved into my mental status. He asked me a question that I thought was kind of strange. "Do you want to continue with the treatment", he asked. Well of course I wish I didn´t have to be here and there are a million other things I want to be doing but I most definitely would never give up. No matter how hard and horrid it is, I want to be here and be given the best chance possible to one day be healthy again. "No - most definitely not opting out doctor. It isn´t even a choice for me," I responded. He seemed convinced. An hour or so later, he came to get me again and took me into an empty room. It was then that he informed me that I would not be getting any chemo today. I was shocked and surprised. The funny thing about white blood cells is that you can´t feel them if they are low or high nor can you do anything to bring the numbers back up. Time is the only healer. I felt slightly defeated as I take pride in my blood values and have a little internal competition with myself to better my numbers every time. Looks like the chemo won this round. Even with the bone marrow booster shot, I had dipped below the sacred 1.0. Chemo was too dangerous for me to do. So we picked up our things and headed home slightly defeated - tails between our legs.

The next day we went through the same motions again and trekked back to the hospital. Is this getting boring yet? Same procedure again. Longer wait. Mental status questionable. After 5 hours, we find out that my white counts are even lower then yesterday and my potassium levels have dropped too. I had been having heart issues the last week which they think could be related to this. So another prescription and we are off home for the weekend. Hello sushi time! I was partly relieved but also frustrated as I just wanted to get this bugger over with. Instead everything will be that much longer and waiting just makes it all feel worse. What was additionally frustrating was that all of this had been planned to a t with my mother´s arrival and my husband and daughter´s departure to Turkey today (sunday). Originally we had bought this holiday in January and it was meant to be our family summer holiday. However when life threw us one giant curveball, I had to bow out but I still wanted them to be able to have some fun. But now my husband was leaving and we hadn´t been able to check this off our cancer to do list. And to add additional fuel to the fire, I got a phonecall at 10pm on Friday evening just as I was ready to head to bed. It was the Cancer Centre and they doctor needed to speak to me (okay so who would not go crazy balls over that?). Additional blood results were back, something else was low and they needed me to come in first thing in the morning. I freaked out of course. Apparently having low values in these two areas can cause some heart issues of which I had been having. The doctor told me if my problems got worse in the night to call them. I told her my problems were worse right now as a result of what she just told me and I was terrified. This is serious stuff people and chemo can cause serious problems. I went into total panic mode and took a valium to try and sleep. I just don´t want anything else to go wrong and I just want to finish this. But my body appears to have other plans. So for the third straight morning, I set my alarm for 6:15 and we headed back to the hospital again. I hate that place! Thankfully things were much faster this time and within 2 hours, we were out with a new prescription in hand. To be honest, when i got home I collapsed into a deep sleep - utterly exhausted by the drama of it all.

So this morning I drove my husband and monkey to the airport and it was so hard not to feel sad. Like I was meant to be there with them but instead cancer ruined everything and I was stuck here waiting for my chemo number to be called. If I were just here chilling out, it would be different. Chemo just sucks full stop people especially when compared to an all inclusive holiday in the sun. But I want them to have an amazing time and get away from all of this crap. And perhaps recovering with just myself to worry about will be better for me and I have my mom here to make me soup and just be with me so I will be okay. Things could be worse right?

I will enjoy what remains of the day and then get myself ready to do it all again tomorrow. I don´t know what the day will bring - poison or not. I will accept what will be. I will do what is required because there is nothing else to do. Patience is most definitely a virtue I need.




  1. Oh man. So sorry about that. Cancer really is unfair and unkind! I'm pretty sure they also won't be as happy on the trip, knowing you're not only not there, but that you're waiting on chemo.

  2. oh fuck, kate (jeez - i hope your sweet mom doesn't read this!) why, oh, why does there have to be struggles piled upon struggles - IT'S JUST NOT FAIR! but there you are - kate being kate, hopeful as ever and making the best of it. don't cut yourself short - a lot of people would not be able or willing to rally to the place you have chosen to wait out the numbers. i am so glad your mom is there with you to give you her mommy love and support.

    sending you the light of my love and BIG hope for success tomorrow, XOXOXOXO,

    karen, TC

  3. So terribly sorry to hear that your blood count has created an issue. I understand, WAITING,and keep on WAITINg can be extremely unbearable and frustrating and drive you nuts. I totally admire your courage and patience, you are the true "Kate, the great Warrior!" Hopefully, with your dear mom by your side now, you would be comforted and loved. Enjoy whatever you can find (I know, with your husband and monkey gone, it's not easy, but at least, you know that they would be having some jolly good time on vacation, so have a bit of relief then.) Get yourself ready to do it all again! Stay strong, and remain hopefu! You need to eat and build up your nutrition and physical strength to fight. You will see victory. Holding you strong in the light!

    Hugs and Prayers

  4. Your spirit appears to be stronger than the cancer, its treatments and related disappointments.

    There is a level of comfort in knowing that cancer can amputate your body but not the instrinsic 'you'. Bent but unbroken.

    What can I say? All the best.

  5. OBB! I'm sorry I am just now reading this blog post. I'm sorry too that you have had a pause in your treatment. I hope in the last week your numbers have improved and you aren't experiencing any weird heart issues. OY if it's not one thing it's your mother! (Had to sneak a joke in there, that is a line my mother always uses on me!) Sending you lots of hugs and I hope you are letting your mom mother you and the peace and quiet of no hubby or child in the house has been a respite... though I know how much you wish you could have gone on that plane.