It has been a challenging few days since my last update. Today my big adventure was getting out to the backyard to enjoy a few minutes of sun. Monday was a low point as I even had difficulty walking. I took a short walk to the park and was in so much pain I considered calling my housemate to come pick me up. I eventually limped home, tears of frustration hiding behind my sunglasses. This was a very humbling experience, and a reminder of the long road ahead.
The silver lining to this pain is that it is due to to a process of growing new white blood cells. I get sent home from my last day of chemotherapy with a patch on my arm that injects me with a drug called Neulasta, 27 hours later. This drug is a granulate colony stimulating factor (g-csf) which kicks off a process of growing white blood cells in my bone marrow. The terrible side effect is bone pain. And it is really terrible. Just out of fascination I googled the cost of this shot and its a whopping $6,231 per dose! That is an extremely expensive way to get yourself destroyed for a few days… It’s hard to describe this pain – its all pervasive and as deep as it gets. Our skull even has a thin layer of bone marrow which I could literally feel pulsating at night as I tried to manage the severe headaches. As I write this I can say the worst is over and I’m optimistic that I will continue to feel better as I approach my next cycle in a week and a half.
My bloodwork yesterday showed that I have a white blood cell count of nearly 13,000 uL, while the normal adult range is 4 to 9,000. This is good news when it comes to my immune system dealing with foreign bacteria and viruses – meaning I am not currently immunocompromised and at high risk of COVID-19 complications despite being on chemotherapy. Obviously I am taking extra precautions, as contracting COVID or any illness right now has the potential to complicate or delay my treatments.
I want to thank everyone for the continued flow of support, check-ins and love that is coming my way. Despite the pandemic requiring many people to focus on their immediate circumstances, I have not been forgotten! And I have to say, receiving things in the mail is especially nice during such a time. I received a box of love and chocolate all the way from Switzerland today along with a few beautiful cards. The meal-train continues to be so helpful and nourishing for body and spirit.