When I was in high school I had an exciting 3-summer career at Six Flags. At the peak of my tenure there I was promoted to ‘assistant foreman’ of Flashback – at the time, that was the park’s newest ride. So, in short, you could say I was pretty much just a few promotions away from CEO. Or at least that’s what it sounded like if you read my resume after college. Lots of folks had fancy internships and I instead had worked at Six Flags but as my dear friend, Chris Hite, said after reading my resume ‘you make it sound like the whole park couldn’t open unless you were there!’ That pretty much sums it up. Or not.
Flashback was a roller coaster that went forward and then did the same route completely in reverse. And, sometimes, that’s what cancer treatment feels like. Full speed ahead and then all comes to a screeching halt and it seems like you are going the wrong direction…
As we’ve shared we are super excited about getting a spot in the trial and access to new medicines. Yesterday, I had an appointment with Dr. Osborne and met with Nancy to begin the pre-trial testing (blood work, urine analysis, and EKG). We had barely been seated in the exam room before Nancy came in and her first words were ‘your platelets are too low for the trial.’ Thankfully, that isn’t necessarily a permanent conclusion (please pray that it’s not?!) but it’s not exactly encouraging news either. They are just below the minimum threshold of 75. And there’s nothing to do (medically) to boost platelets. As more blood work results came in she also informed us that my ANC (absolute neutrophil count which are the front-line cells for fighting infections) were less than half of what they need to be – need to be 150,000 and mine are only 70,000. There is a shot I could take to increase neutrophils but they need my body to increase them on its own. And, lastly, though it doesn’t affect the trial, the blood work confirmed the anemia that I expected. I have learned to listen to my body – but don’t always like what I hear. I knew that I was very easily tired (winded from just a set of stairs) and my red blood count confirmed the fatigue I feel.
So, here we are. Again. Reminded that sometimes a few steps forward is followed by feeling like we are all of a sudden going the wrong direction. Thankfully I still have scans scheduled for tomorrow and we look forward to that information to, hopefully, help explain some back pain and internal pain and coughing. And the scans are baseline information for the trial and not factors for acceptance. We will take blood again tomorrow to see if it’s trending positively. We would appreciate your prayers for it to bounce back. Dr. O is hopeful that these are side effects from the most recent medicine which slows the cell growth – but in impeding the cancer cells the good cells also take a hit. Lord willing, they can start to rally.
And, today, I tried to go for a walk with my friend Liz that ended with my head hung over the trash can in Starbucks. I apologize to all who saw that. And sweet thanks to Jan, the manager, who couldn’t have been any more gracious – and I later learned is also a cancer survivor. It is really a gift to be met with compassion in those moments of utter humiliation.
So I am back on the couch for my second day in a row. Thankful for such a perfect temporary place to live, for friends who rescue me from Starbucks and rub my feet, a husband with lots of compassion, and friends who pick Lincoln up from school so that he doesn’t have to witness the weary.
We would love your prayers for the blood numbers. And for rest. My body is weary today.
Much love to all.