I completed chemo session three a couple of weeks ago. Just was not feeling up to posting about it. Symptoms were about the same as last time, but this time I am getting a bit of depression thrown in. Didn’t get a chemo treatment this time because of my health.
I am usually a very positive person that rarely if ever raises my voice. Lately, though, I have caught myself yelling at the furry kids for things I normally wouldn’t. Yelling at my phone because of its poor performance. I even caught myself yelling at the stupidity of a piece of software I was using (honestly, the software (or actually the designer of the interface) deserved the yelling).
This is coupled with a bit of depression — depression that I recognized and acknowledged. This is something, having a psychology degree under my belt, I never thought could affect me. I understood these kinds of things to a point and I would never let it get this far with me. Pumping poisons into your body, and brooding over the situation it puts you in now and for the foreseeable future, did do it to me.
Yesterdays trip up to Portland for chemo session four was a bit different. First, it was Friday the 13th. Not a very superstitious guy, but Apollo 13 did have an effect on me, and I avoid doing anything of import on Friday the 13th. On the way, there was a large (read 6+ car accident) on I5 just south of the 205 exit causing a one and a half hour delays. Of course, we needed to travel through that.
Google, however, for once, helped us out on the reroute. Exiting well before the accident, Google led us on a back-road tour through some small towns to the east of I5. We were 20 minutes late but made it at least an hour before we would have if we had stayed on I5.
My port is accessed and my blood was drawn for labs. Everything is good except my platelets. They want to see greater than 100k and mine is 83k. The doctor came by, and between her and the nurse assigned to administer my chemo treatment, they explained the details of what this means. If the count had been 93k, and since all my other parameters were right in the middle, they would have gone ahead and given me the treatment. However, 83k was just too low. Platelets govern things like clotting. Low platelets, less clotting.
Julie and I knew this might happen at some time during my treatments. We were just hoping it would be later in the program. We discussed with the folks there a new game plan because of this. From now on I will get my blood drawn from the Eugene VA clinic Thursday morning. At 1600 I will call the Portland VA Chemo suite and talk with the charge nurse about the results (have to wait so long because the blood draw must be sent to the lab in Roseburg to be processed — military efficiency at its finest).
If the results show I should not have a treatment, we will re-schedule the treatment for the following Friday, and Julie and I do not have to take a trip to Portland. Otherwise, it’s on, and we know I will receive the treatment. Another nice benefit is since the labs are done, we pull in and access immediately in prep for treatment; no waiting on the local lab for the results. The treatment will be done sooner and we should be able to get back home a bit sooner.
Though we both do not like delaying and extending out this phase of my treatment, we understand it is necessary to watch out for my personal health. Also, another week to heal and be able to drink ice water is fantastic (just became able to do this last Wednesday).
This trip also helped on the depression side. We spoke with a professional, expressing concerns, what a day looks like for me, and just general talking about the whole situation. A bit of counseling you might say for both Julie and I. Together, we all came up with some actionable items to help with both of our mental states and a tentative plan for handling the future treatments.
In summary, no chemo this trip because I was just not healthy enough after the last treatment, but the trip was not wasted as it allowed Julie and I to address some issues related to symptoms of the chemo treatments so far.