Today was my chemo follow-up with Dr. Vankatesh. It's been 10 days since my first chemo and this visit was to see how my body has handled it. They had to draw blood through my port, so it was my first time to feel the "poke" that goes into my port....not too bad.
Leukopenia - a decrease in the total number of white blood cells (WBC), which may lead to low white blood cell count
My White Blood Cell count is down. From what he indicated, it isn't just slightly down....he said 1.1, but I'm not real sure what that means. I don't do chemo again until next Wednesday (May 11), so as long as my white blood cells come back up, I'll be ok for it. If not, I won't be able to do chemo that day. So, my prayers are for my white blood cells to be acceptable for chemo next week. I don't want to have to skip any. Plus, he said he will give me a shot the day after chemo that will help my white blood cells. So, I know he's got it under control, and while I wasn't particularly pleased with this news, I know it will be ok. This happens with chemo and Dr. Vankatesh knows how to handle it. I totally trust my "team".
I also am taking an antibiotic now...not because I have an infection or anything....but our white blood cells fight infection. So, I'm taking the antibiotic to head off any infection I may come into contact with. I need to stay away from sick people and just be careful. Good thing I'm a "homebody" and don't really like being around crowds. :=) I've got a good excuse to make Larry go to Wal mart instead of me...LOL!
The nausea....I threw up 5 times with my last chemo and Dr. Vankatesh said that's too much. So, he's bringing out the "big guns" for my next chemo, which I highly expect to take care of this. It will be a different anti-nausea medicine that I will be taking the day of and two days after chemo.
I really like Dr. Vankatesh and his sense of humor! He and I get along great....I think he "gets" MY sense of humor...and believe me, he dishes out his own! LOL! I told him today that I didn't particularly like that anti-nausea medicine he gave me last time that dissolves on your tongue...gross! I suggested that he should try these drugs out himself before he gives them to his patients...LOL! His answer..."If I tried out every chemo, I wouldn't be here"! :=) So, I guess that wasn't such a good idea. I actually wasn't talking about chemo...I was talking about nasty tasting pills that dissolve on your tongue. LOL! But, he did say I don't have to take that gross pill anymore....hehe! Give me a pill I can swallow straight down and I'm fine...I don't want to TASTE IT!!!!
I fully expect to do better with my next chemo. He's able to see now how my body has reacted to it and knows the adjustments to make for my next one. Like I said: my prayer request this time around is that my blood count will be back up and I can get my chemo next Wednesday!
Next was my appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Zusan, for the follow up to my surgery. All good there! It's healing fine, no infections, all looks good! And, as always, Dr. Zusan follows up with a hug. Her office people are wonderful there (they are at Dr. Vankatesh's too). I won't need to see Dr. Zusan again until I finish my 4 rounds of chemo....then she will be able to test to see how much my tumor has shrunk and we'll go from there.
Sharon is my Certified Breast health navigator.
Whether you have questions about your mammogram or need support following your breast cancer diagnosis, Community's breast health specialists are here for you as a resource and advocate. Created in 2006, this service focuses on the needs of all breast patients. The breast specialist’s goal is to provide continuity for patients and their families throughout their health care experience during what can be a very stressful time in a woman’s life.
Sharon Bronnenberg, B.S.N., R.N., OCN, CBCN, has been with Community health Network since 1992, working in the specialty areas of bone marrow transplant, ICU and at the Community Regional Cancer Center - North. She joined the breast health program at Community Hospital South in September 2008. Sharon was nominated for Community Health Network’s Nursing Excellence award in 2007 and 2008. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Butler University (1972) and a Master Gardener designation from Purdue University (2005).
Sharon is a breast and thyroid cancer survivor. She and her husband, Michael, have been married for over 30 years. They live in a restored farm in Shelby County with their two children and many animals. Sharon's hobbies include gardening, ballroom dancing, reading, Sudoku and collecting antiques.
We spent a lot of time talking with Sharon, who is a breast cancer survivor of 12 years. She is a huge asset to my team, as she talks with me about any concerns I may have. She has been a huge help to me about recontruction options. It is a personal decision and no one will tell you what you should do regarding a lumpectomy or masectomy, but it's good to talk with someone who has "been there". Although I don't have to make my surgery decision yet, I am trying to learn everything I can so I can make the most informed decision. I just love Sharon and she's been a great advocate.
Another one we met today was Christina, who shared her own life story of pain. I firmly believe that God brings people together for a purpose and today I witnessed Him connect two people who needed each other at this moment. God is so good. I know He has implanted Christina in my heart and I will be praying for His presence to cover her pain. When you meet people on your daily walk, remember that you have no idea what they are dealing with and how much they may need your kindness that day.
I have met so many wonderful people on my journey so far, who are enriching my own life. Everyone at the doctor's offices have been so personable and they really care. My appointments are "good experiences". I thank God for bringing these special people into my life.
Until next time.....praying for good white blood cell count! :=)
Oh, one last thing! I'm up to $80 toward my $200 goal for Relay for Life. Thanks so much Amy, Jen and Erin for your contributions. They meant a lot to me! If anyone wants to donate, you can do so here. Any contribution is appreciated! :=)