Today is Saturday 23 January, 20 days after chemo 4 and the plan was to return to Bangkok. And that means that tomorrow should have been Scary Sunday, with my appointment with Dr W2 followed by chemo 5.
However, that’s all changed now. On Thursday I had my blood counts checked and took the complicated long list of results to my Dr here in Yangon. She checked these against the minimums set by Dr W2 – and there it was in black and white, I was clearly under the minimum. Insufficient neutrophils as well as low pretty much everything else. The strange thing is that I feel really quite well, apart from tiredness. Well enough to swim 25 – 30 lengths of a 20 metre pool 5 times a week!
The fact that my counts have always been satisfactory up to now and that I have not had any delays to the first 4 chemos made me think that I would not have any difficulties with my counts so it came as quite a blow. I also felt really disappointed in myself, as if I am doing something wrong. The Dr reassured me that this is a normal response to chemo and it takes time for the body to replenish after the chemo does its destructive work on cancer and other cells. I am doing all the right things – eating very carefully and active within my limits.
So the mixed reactions swung immediately into action. Deep disappointment that my treatment is delayed. An acknowledgement that with each treatment pulling me down a bit further the rest will in all likelihood be delayed too as my body takes a bit more time to recover each time. This means that the “finish date” which I had indelibly marked in my mind of 28 March for my final chemo has shifted and will in all likelihood shift again. This will mean a delay to the start of radiation which will start after the chemo has finished. This is accompanied by a sense of frustration that despite being proactive and doing my utmost to aid my recovery, I am not in charge of my own neutrophils!!
On the other hand though, the thought of a reprieve and having a relaxing and pleasant Sunday instead of Scary Sunday cannot fail to appeal. Likewise, the thought of another week at home, eating breakfast in the garden as the sun warms the day, enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the environment, eating fresh and healthy food, being close to friends and colleagues, and just being home is very attractive.
The plan now is that we repeat the blood test this week and see how well or not I am “reconstructing”. Irrespective of the results we will travel to Bangkok ready for another Scary Sunday as Dr W2 will see me then and will review how and when the next treatment happens and if there needs to be any other intervention, such as boosters or meds.
The light at the end of the treatment tunnel is still there, just a little bit further away and every day continues to take me a bit nearer. And I am thankful that the coming days of recuperation will be here at home.