My reputation preceeds me

I have been feeling, well, I’ve been feeling like myself (yay!) since Monday. I’ve worked out every morning (modified a bit) this week (yay me!). And today when I went for my blood work all of the key blood component numbers are trending up and I am no longer neutropenic. So, while I still can’t shave my legs (low platelets), and I should maybe be feeling tired, which I’m not (low red blood cells), I can garden again and eat sushi if I so choose.

I am feeling very excited by the news.  My body is recovering well from the treatment (or tolerating it well as the doctors like to say) even if I do not know yet how well the treatment worked, a couple weeks yet for that.

I have taken to warning whichever nurse is drawing my blood that I did pass out last week, you know, just in case… The nurse today was shocked, she said, “I would never think that Heather would pass out!” – so there’s that!

Weeds

Quick update: Friday’s blood work was completely uneventful in that a.) I did not faint and b.) I did not need any transfusions.  I am however, very neutropenic (low white blood count, very little immunity). I have also successfully purchased a wig. So if my hair falls out soon, or not until June, either way, I am ready.

Being neutropenic, as I am now, is not as restrictive as being post stem cell transplant. There are a few simple rules to follow: wash your hands a lot, stay away from sick people, stay out of the basement and the attic, and don’t move plants or do any gardening. The most difficult one for me right now is the plant/gardening one. Scot is gardening like a madman and I can basically supervise, but from a distance. It sounds silly, but I cannot tell you how hard it is for me to walk through my yard at this time of year and not grab a stray maple sapling or other weed out of the ground!

I did take a great hike in the woods and am grateful I will be able to do that (as long as I am feeling up to it) throughout this process. And I made a fabulous cold sesame noodle dish for lunch – have to contribute where I can!

Life

After a glorious wedding weekend, filled with love, fun, family, friends, laughing, dancing, and wedded bliss, a dear friend’s son suddenly passed away. Just like that, elation to devastating sadness. Life us like that. And there are no words of condolence. No fixing it. And it seems so banal, but truly all we can do is relish the “good” things, the happy moments, the glorious occasions, the glowing smile of your daughter the bride, the arm of your son around your shoulder with a knowing squeeze, the silly laughs, the snuggle of your dog, or holding hands.

And then, there’s the cancer. A couple weeks before the wedding my doctor at Dana Farber decided to switchg treatment. My “numbers” had plateaued. They want to see them going down, hopefully to zero, a “complete response”.

So, after my off week the week before the wedding (which was perfect, I felt great, super great even!), my 5th cycle started last Monday. No more Revlimid. Still getting dexamethasone (steroid) and Velcade twice a week. And adding cytoxan on days one and eight of the cycle (followed by one week off). With the cytoxan I get an anti-nausea medication (Zofran) along with a prescription for it.

I have to say I don’t feel as well with this regimen as I did with the last. The nausea lasted all week, although was abated by the Zofran. I was more tired, more achy. But nothing that actually held me back (save the one day that I went straight to bed when I got home from work).

This morning my blood work showed that I am neutropenic (low white blood count), a side effect of the treatment. But going ahead with treatment anyway with the addition of Neulasta (a drug that promotes white blood cells) which I will come back in for tomorrow.

So, onward we go!

Because that’s life.