Friday, September 7, 2012

3 Down-Barely

Okay, I am in need of more prayers I think!  In a little bit of a pickle, but not anything this women won't get herself out of!  Started out yesterday, I went over lunch, dressed in my wig, in dress clothes and make up.  I have my blood drawn and I make a deal with the nurse that the only way I want a call (yesterday)  is if my hemoglobin was higher....I was already counting on a transfusion, so I didn't want to know anything more, unless I needed to know I didn't need one.  I felt good, not great, but I was okay with going either direction today.  The nurse and I joked.  I said watch, I'll be like a 4 (remember I was a 8.9 and anything under an 8 is transfusion time) and she said, No, you would know it if you were.  She agreed I looked too good to be that low.  Even a few of the regular nurses and desk staff didn't recognize me.  This is because again, I was dressed in work clothes, had my wig on and more make up.  When I go to the cancer center, I'm not impressing anyone.  Yoga pants, sweat shirt, turban head wrap and maybe if they are lucky, I throw on some eye liner.  This is just so I don't scare EVERYONE and the hope that I can get some brownie points with Dr. Hantel...Again, I know I can't flirt away my illness, but if it makes me feel better, LET ME BE!!

So I get back to work and the phone rings, the nurse begins to question if I have checked my temperature, have I fainted, bled, etc.  This can't be good!  She tells me my WBC is 1.3 (0 is no protection at all) and my hemoglobin is a 6 (healthy people are 12, chemo around 10).  WHAT!?  I immediately checked my temp (yes, I carry a thermometer, anti-nausea meds, Ativan, Tylenol, wipes, pacifier, sometimes a McDonalds toy, a NASCAR and a wallet and check book in my hand me down Coach purse) and no temp.  The nurse tells me that she has not talked to Dr. Hantel, but this will probably mean no chemo on Friday.  That it would only consist of a transfusion.  I'm not going to sugar coat my emotions, I melted!  I closed my door for the first time in months in my office and just cried!  I questioned everything.  What am I doing getting out each day exposing myself to germs? What if Justin brings me home something from Kindergarten or day care?  Why am exhausting all of my energy at work? Is this because I have not gone to see Liz lately?  Do I need to control my diet more than I have been? But mostly, Why in the hell do I NOT feel like I'm sick with levels in the garbage can like they are???  I can not say my age is getting me out of this one.  My levels are not controlled by my young vibrant age of 33  my blood counts are out of my control and that is damn scary.  

I next went to my wonderful boss Brian and told him I needed to leave.  This was hard for me, I have realized through this, everyone has an outlet with cancer.  Mine has been work.  Call me crazy!? Right?  This is the place that I can escape to and not think of my illness.  I can honestly say I spend 8 + hours there on a good day and the word cancer comes to my head maybe 1-2 times.  I work really hard while I'm there to block out the bad.

To some, they might think this is selfish or backwards and that I should be spending my time with my family and working on healing.  Don't get me wrong, I am doing all of this, but I noticed when I was home for the almost 2 weeks after being diagnosed, I was making myself crazy with the "what ifs" and looking online to learn about my horrible, aggressive form of breast cancer.  When I returned to work, I started to come back together. Not every day is a good day, but I was able to get into "work mode" and that is when I knew being there was my outlet.  Some may run, eat more or go on vacation, I go to work.  Who cares? Plus, lets face it, Justin is an active 5 year old.  He has A LOT of energy and mommy doesn't.  It hurts to not have the energy to play soccer, or even play a game or get him his nightly ice cream fix.  And Ryan, aka sumo wrestler is ACTIVE.  He is getting so big and is heavy for me to cart around. I have realized that quality over quantity is key with them.  And they are getting quality mommy time.   Plus, I do not want either one of them to have the memory of this illness.  So sometimes I feel like it is easier to distance myself from them.  

It is so frustrating not having all of my answers of if I am doing the right thing here, but I have to trust what I'm currently doing is working.  Yesterday I stepped back and I think I am.   I have to trust I am doing the right thing and will know if I need to slow down.  So that is what I have chosen to do with all of this.  Just continue marching forward and following my "minute by minute day by day". cancer (notice no cap for the "c", a cancer survivor taught me this) is somewhat of a mind game I have learned this short time. I can have bad days and get angry, but only I can control my fight.  I get the chemo is doing the majority of the work, but I can't give up and I have to constantly keep going. Working 8 hours a day and escaping my bad dream works.  My thought is maybe the stupid tumor is getting jealous of me not giving it attention and it will decide to leave.  Again, this is my theory and no one Else's.  Also remember my mind goes a million miles a minute and later tomorrow I may have changed my mind!  But this is as close as the way I feel I think and wanted to share. 

Today I had my "chemo fix" at 8:30 and they reminded me it will be a long day.  We started the Taxol, only after they paged Dr. Hantel one more time to confirm he wants to move forward because they realize my Platelets are below chemo levels too.  This would explain the pin size bruises I have all over my legs from sitting on the floor with Ryan while he gets so excited to see me that he kicks his whole bottom half of his body off of the floor and gets my legs every time.  I haven't learned to back up so I do not become a purple mess.  But Dr. Hantel still agrees with me that we push forward.  So Taxol until around 11:30 and then we moved on to 2 units (bags) of blood.  Each takes 2 hours.  It was weird to see a bag o blood on my IV pole, but I have to admit, I feel better and it was cake.  I hope never to have to walk someone through this, but now I can.  The nurse that saw me yesterday came in and shared her true feelings.  She said wow, when I saw you yesterday I thought for sure your levels were high, but seeing you this morning, there is no doubt you need this.  THANK YOU MISS WONDERFUL!  But as the day has gone on, I have perked up more, even Don said he didn't realize how pale I was coming in here this morning.  So I guess this is what I needed.

I still need the prayers that my WBC will rise and that I can stay healthy.  I have almost nothing to fight off infection right now.  So please pray for me.  Unfortunately the transfusion will not help that count.  This experience has reminded me how dangerous and scary all of this is, but I am doing my best to stand up and fight off the fears and just continuing the fight! And after watching the Stand Up To cancer, I think I am back to where I need to be.   I need help though and prayer is what everyone can do for me.  THANK YOU as always, and keep them coming!

I sure hope between the steroids and the super hero blood I received today, I will have a great weekend with my kids and family.  But I have to listen to my body and stay away from germs to get back physically where I need to be.  Mentally I'm almost there again.  Just pray!

Have a wonderful weekend and Love to all!



  1. Oh my goodness....first of all I am praying for you!! And I know I have said this before but you write so well. You should write a book. I think that if work is your outlet then good for you..atleast you have one. I am happy to hear that the office is there for you. You are a strong and amazing person! God bless!!

  2. Wow! You are so strong and we pray that your WBC counts go up and give you the bug protection you need and deserve.

    "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
    --Reinhold Niebuhr

    Our prayers are with you, Amber. BRIAN & ROSE ANN