We're midway through week twelve, and it appears my body may be putting up the white flag.
Or maybe a small white hankie.
Last week I started getting pretty frustrated with all of this -- to the point where I started telling the SO that I'm losing my sense of humor about treatment. And while I've gotten mentally weary of the whole thing, I was also feeling more physically weary at the point in the cycle where I'm usually gathering up a head of steam and feeling more like myself.
My blood test on Monday exposed the cause of the weariness - the physical kind, at least. My numbers aren't recovering the way they usually do by the start of week three of the cycle, specifically when it comes to the white cell count. The condition goes by the name "neutropenia." I wasn't totally bereft of those little infection-fighting buggers, but I was deprived enough that the doc advised me to continue to not eat anything uncooked.
Awesome. Right after I'd had a medium-cooked burger with lettuce and tomato on Sunday. And I'm seriously jonesing for a spinach salad.
I'm also supposed to keep checking my temperature (my usual week two routine) and call her if it hits 100.5, the sign of infection.
The doc also discussed the potential of shooting me up with neulasta if things don't improve. I talked about this last month. It's a lovely drug that pushes the body to produce more white blood cells. It's also got some annoying side effects, like bone pain and other stuff I don't want to think about. As I understand it, and she didn't mention this, getting neulasta would also mean delaying my next chemo infusion, which is scheduled for next week.
Another option, which she didn't mention, would be to reduce the dosages on my next infusion. Given the fact that I'm only undergoing chemo because they haven't done any studies on the effectiveness of herceptin without chemo, I'd rather go with the reduced dose than to drag this whole process out any longer than I have to.
How that works, if it works, is not something I can find on the internet. I tried looking on the breastcancer.org pages, but everything there is frustratingly general in nature, probably because BC treatments are so personalized. And though I signed up a while ago to participate on the site's very good discussion boards, I don't want to read through them. Too much of a chance that I'll read about someone else's scary side effects or tribulations - stuff I don't want to even consider will happen to me. Well, I did back down and read some of it, and I'm sorry I did. Compared to them, my little
*sigh* I'll just have to find out from the doc, who will, no doubt, just want to shoot me full of the neulasta.
I know that all of this is ultimately up to me, and I can stop the treatment if I feel strongly enough about it, but what choice do I really have? Either I stop the madness and live with the concern I didn't do enough, or I just muscle through, hoping that going through the whole regimen will inoculate me from ever having to deal with this again.
Did I mention that I just want this crap to be done????