March 25, 2010

The girl in a bubble: white blood cells needed

Today my white blood count reached a new nadir: I have 400, practically few enough that someone could count them, and someone else could start singing 400 white blood cells in her bod, 400 white blood cells; take any down and pass them around, 399 white blood cells in her bod....

A normal reading is 4,800 to 10,000. So I don't exactly have any to spare. This week? Like the others, but more so. Every day, visit the doctor. Get blood pressure taken, temperature taken, finger pricked to put blood on a slide; get weighed; see blood test results before doctor hits the exam room and know: today, another 480cc shot of drug to hasten white blood cell formation.

Why so important? Chemo nukes out all the cells, the good and the bad. Then you have a hiatus, 2 weeks when the blood is supposed to regenerate. Thing is, every cycle of chemo makes it more difficult for the bone marrow to make the cells. But if I don't have a high enough count a week from now, then I can't get the chemo to nuke the cells that may exist.

Makes that much sense to me, too.

Then there are the red blood cells -- too few and you have no energy, not to mention having no immune system since the white cells are so few and far between. And let us not forget the platelet count. Normal? 130-400 of whatever unit is being counted. Me? Down to 55. You could definitely sing the bottles of beer song to that.

Platelets at this stage equal very limited blood clotting ability. A paper cut could send me to the hospital. This thought is not cheering. Neither is the idea that I have to be incredibly careful not to walk into anything, because I'd have a bruise for months.

People tell me, at least you still have your sense of humor. What else am I going to have? Shall we all start to sing the platelet count song? I don't have much in the way of intellectual thought processes to get in the way of a good old-fashioned sing-along.

Lymphoma? Not pretty. Can't dress it up and take it anywhere, not without sterile precautions. Time for another round of Purell, what I'm wearing instead of perfume this winter. I used to wear Joy. Even if I couldn't feel it, I could smell it. Now, it doesn't make a difference, except in the irony department -- but you knew I was good for that.

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Blogger Gray Matter said...

Oh man, I am so sorry to hear about this. Is this the "it gets worse before it gets better" portion of the show? You are so brave and I hope you are keeping your eyes on the prize, which naturally is another lunch with your suburban buddy. :-)
Feel better...that's an order.

1:52 PM  

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