Monthly Archives: March 2013

Treatment schedule update

Due to the recent, unforeseen events, my next round of chemo has been delayed one week.  While my stay in Paradise was great, it would be better not to have to go back for another stay.  The Powers That Be (really just the fabulous doctors and pharmacists) think the white cells and platelets will react the same way to the next three rounds of chemo.  In order to give all those cells a chance to redeem themselves, I am getting an additional week until the next chemo.

I was suppose to start the second cycle of AC on Monday, April 1.  I will now have that on Tuesday, April 9.  The cycles will then go back to every two weeks (and Mondays) until the weekly T begins.   The dose is going to be adjusted so that maybe the next time I won’t loose all my white cells.  I am kinda of partial to them.  I like my platelets and would like them to hang around, too.

I was given a white cell booster right after chemo.   It didn’t work as well as expected so we are going to change that protocol,  I will give myself the booster 24 hours after chemo.  I could post a picture so you can all share in the fun!

I will not post a picture of my port area as it is pretty ugly with some new bruising and not a lot of platelets to stop the madness.  I did send a picture to two of my sisters.  My sister Diana’s reaction was “I probably could’ve gone my whole life without seeing that photo.”  So you can all thank Diana for taking one for the team.  Well…. and Claire who saw the photo and Christine who got to witness it in real life.

Happy Easter/Happy Passover everyone!

There is no place like home

We just got the word that Loretta will be released from Paradise this afternoon.  Her blood numbers have all gone in the right direction with the neutrophils at 1000 early this morning.  The good news is that she has responded beautifully to the antibiotics they administered.  The bad news is that this is likely to happen in the future.  She has three more sessions like this and no expectation that she won’t have to do this each time.  The oncologist might have some tricks up his sleeve to help prevent or limit the affects so we are still hopeful that we will not have to do this every time. Paradise is nice but it isn’t like home.  There is no place like home.

So, with ruby slippers* and an odd assortment of companions, this Dorthy is headed home tonight.

*She doesn’t actually have ruby slippers – I mean, who does these days, not even the Pope!  Instead she has some heather green Eco-Steps and some nuclear-yellow sneakers that will do the trick.

They’re Coming Back!!!

Yes it is true.  They are finally returning.  Those white cells -neutrophils-(read about ’em here) and platelets (read about ’em here) are coming back.    I was admitted to the hospital because my neutrophils were 10 (normal range is 1500-8000) and I had a fever.  The fever indicated that I had an infection.  I also have low platelets.  Mine were 35,000 (normal range is 150,000-450,000) when I was admitted.  I was started on IV antibiotics every 8 hours to fight the infection.

I am happy to say that my neutrophils are now 220 and my platelets are 49,000.  I  have been fever free for more than 24 hours.  This means that I may get to go home soon.  Maybe late tomorrow afternoon…….

I just want everyone to know that I don’t feel bad and as you can see from photos, I still have hair.   I am not bored because I read and walk the halls.  I even get to write how much I pee on the white board.  Scott goes home every night because sleeping in this chair is not an option.


Another Night In Paradise

Paradise is what Loretta has named her room here at the hospital.  It has a view of Lake Washington, mountains with snow, trees, birds, and the Surgery Pavilion.  People here are all concerned about how she is feeling and are at her beck and call.  She can order room service all day.  Free cable TV, Internet, and telephone.  In other words: Paradise.


We hang out all day doing nothing except the occasional vitals check or an antibiotic infusion.

She likes it so much she isn’t sure when she’ll go home.  Maybe Wednesday or more likely on Thursday.  Who knows? The rules say that she has to have a white blood cell number of 5 (at last check she was at .01) or at least moving in that direction and no fever for 24 hours.  She had one around 3pm today.

Other than being in Paradise,  she says she feels pretty good.  She also says thanks for all the well wishes.  I say the same thing.

Who Needs White Blood Cells?

Loretta had to be admitted into the UW hospital late Monday (25 March) due to a lack of white blood cells.  She had a fever Monday afternoon that was above the threshold for calling the Oncologist.  They wanted her to go to the clinic and have her white cells counted.  They found both of them and they were sick.  To prevent her from getting something really bad while she had no defenses, they wanted her to go to the hospital immediately to have IV delivered antibiotics and to be monitored.

That is where she is now.  David and I took her (David was going to take her in an ambulance, we took the 4Runner) and she sent us home.  She has her own room and says that the docs that she has seen and the nurses are all great.  We had to leave prior to the docs showing up.

She has had a couple of chest X-rays today (I guess it is still there) and they are actually using the port that is still surrounded by technicolor bruising.  When we left she didn’t have a fever so maybe we’ll be able to take her home tomorrow.  I will go back in the morning to sit with her and bug the nurses.  I’m sure she will write something up tomorrow when I give her her Chromebook back.

Once again, several wonderful people stepped up to make sure that Loretta was properly taken care of.  I can’t thank you all enough!

Doing OK, yawn…

Just thought I would let you know that I am feeling ok right now.  I just yawn a lot.  And I mean a lot!  It is kinda crazy how yawny I am.  It gets a bit embarrassing as I don’t want people to think they are boring me.  I just can’t help myself.  I guess I can say that I will have fatigue as a side effect of chemo!  I should have counted my yawns.  There will be hundreds of thousands of them over the next seven months.  So if you see me around town or at the gym or at home and I am yawning, don’t mistake it for boredom.  I’m probably having a great time doing whatever it is I am doing.

First bracelet removed!

Yesterday was a long, long day.  But yet again, I can’t say enough about every person we encountered at SCCA.  From my nurse for the port placement, to the MUGA scan tech, to the chemo nurse, everyone was kind and patient and informative.  SCCA personnel try to make your experience there as painless (physically and emotionally) as possible.

The port is pretty ugly right now due to bruising.  I find bruising to be fascinating in terms of how and where things bruise.  Of course, it is more fascinating when it is not on your own body.  Also, this is one time that being in shape without a lot of fat is not ideal.  Since the port sits in subcutaneous tissue it is better to have more fat and less muscle – in this case only!  And it is not a reason to maintain more fat and less muscle!   But at least I have the port so I don’t have to be stuck so many times!

Today I was very tired but managed to walk to and from PT.  About one mile round trip!  Wow!  I then rested the rest of the day and am still resting as I write.  Had a very yummy dinner delivered.  I am hoping to have a lot more energy tomorrow!

I took eight bracelets with me yesterday.  This first round of chemo will last eight weeks.  I put them on while having chemo.  When we got home, I took the first one off!  I put it in a basket that holds the good thoughts and wishes papers from the FOL get together.  Only 52 more to go!


Earlier (in my first post) I wrote “Lots of people have cancer.”  Even people who write nerdy comics.  Here is an excellent example of someone who had cancer and survived.  The part that I can relate to is the support that the Significant Other offers.  They even get married in the middle of it all.

A lot of people tell me that I’m “great” or “special” because of my support for Loretta during her struggle with cancer.  The way I see it, I’m lucky to be a part of it.  I’m lucky to have her as my best friend.  I’m lucky to be able to go home to be with her.  I’m lucky to share her life with her.  As awful and scary as this cancer may be, it is part of her life and I am still lucky to be part of it.

I recently asked her to marry me.  She said she couldn’t because she was already married.  Lucky guy!