Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pink Ribbons ~ Dr. Joe Explains the Bone Pain...

Pink Ribbons is a feature series I have started that is posted every Thursday.  I am a Pink Ribbon Warrior, having gone through the chemo, surgery, radiation, the year of waiting and recently stage 2 reconstruction...which I find is really the first of many little surgeries.  I am at a place in my life where I am willing to open my journal from that time and share with you my anger, fears, challenges and pain of finding out you have cancer.   These are not current events.  This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

Monday I saw Dr. Joe. My blood values were through the roof. I had told them about my bone pain and how it felt like my spine exploded. He was not happy and said I should have called. I gave it a 9 on the pain scale and told him that MY 10 means I'm screaming in pain...which has only happened once in my life. But I was crying out and sobbing so it was a 9.

He left and came back with my lab results and said "this was the reason for your pain."

The neulasta injection is SUPPOSED to stimulate the bone marrow..which is where the pain comes from. He said "Well Tina, we sent yours into overdrive!" A normal high wbc count is 10.4. Mine was 37.8!!! Three times normal. My percentage of immature blood cells was 33.3 and high normal is 6.5!!

He told us that it's a gamble sometimes. He can't know which patients have good bone marrow and which ones don't. He said I had REALLY good bone marrow. So this next chemo which is a week from Friday (sigh) he's NOT going to give the me the Neulasta injection and then watch how low my blood counts go. I go in for a lab draw on the 20th. IF it's fallen below normal he may give me a 25% dose. He said he can always give a little medicine but can't undo it once I have it.  He guessed because I was SO YOUNG, my bone marrow is still working well.

He believes the muscle pain is from the chemo, as was the fevers. He can't reduce my chemo dose and I told him I did not want him to. I can tell myself the chemo is hurting me but doing its job. If he reduced it just to make me more comfortable, there's no assurance its strong enough to do the job.

It IS harder to face this next dose, because that I KNOW what's coming and I know how bad I will feel. But I even still I wish it was this Friday instead of next Friday. Kind of like "get the show on the road."

But I am enjoying some good days. I tire easily but find I can do light housework. I did dishes, swept and vacuumed the living room! I made my bed and even cleaned the toilet! I rest 30 minutes between chores and find I can do light housework.

I'm in the Nadir period of chemo which is a fancy medical term meaning the "off weeks".  Really it refers to the effects of chemo on the cells in the weeks after the dose. Normally they would be at their lowest cell activity. Mine are not because of that shot. But because mine are so high he gave me clearance to go see mom. Just using normal chemo precautions, I am to avoid children.  *sad*  Nurse Robin said that children are walking "petri dishes" of virus' and germs.

So we plan to drive out late sat afternoon and come home around noon Sunday. Mom is having bladder surgery...she hopes by the end of Sept. It's a situation where she may not survive. HER blood levels are poor. She's anemic, has low wbcs and very low platelets. But we all gave her permission to die. We know she's miserable right now. The surgery will improve her quality of life. If she dies seeking a better quality, we are at peace with her choice. Living like she is now...isn't life. But at the same time I want to see her before she takes that step.

It's so great that your doctor is on top of things. He sounds absolutely wonderful! I am praying that your pain becomes more manageable. It must do your heart good to be able to do a bit of housework because your personality is not that of a couch potato. I hope that resting in your lovely chair in between is helping.

So you have super hero bone marrow!  Makes me think you've got super hero healing properties too!  I get the dread of waiting for the next treatment, not sure how to help you not dread it, but I'll be in prayer for you to have some calm about the next treatment.  And I'm sorry to hear about your mom, I'm sure this is tough on all of you.

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