Monday, June 29, 2009

Another setback today

Sherrie had another setback today. Her CBC showed a total white count of 1.8, and the "infection fighting" white cells at 0.5. The former has to be over 2.5, and the latter over 1.0, or they won't do the treatment. So, no chemo today.

The plan is to have a batch of Neupogen shots over the next several days, and then try again next Monday.

Sherrie was quite disappointed. As she said, she's a person who likes to keep to schedule, and having these hiccups is hard to swallow. But by this evening, she was feeling better. She knows it's best to be safe; getting an infection would be far worse. So she's being patient and strong.

Friday, June 26, 2009

End-of-week update

Sherrie is starting to feel better. She had a rough few days since Monday. She managed to keep food down after Monday night, but she's been quite nauseous and tired since then. Last night she started to feel better, and she seems more chipper, so we're hopeful things will be looking up. If we can keep her from getting "anticipatory nausea" on Monday, she should be able to have a good couple of weeks.

She starts Neupogen shots on Tuesday, and this time she'll get six of them. We will make sure we find out what her white count is when she is done, and if it's not high, we'll contact the doctor and see how to proceed.

The last vestiges of her "normal" hair have fallen out, and she's left with very fine, hard-to-see white hairs. She still has her eyelashes and her eyebrows, and she's hopeful she'll keep them a while longer (forever?).

This week while she was ill, she made a lovely crocheted hat out of bamboo yarn--it's soft and comfortable.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Chemo report

Sherrie's white count was quite high today (around 18!), so she received the chemo. The bone soreness which came with the Neupogen shots the time before last didn't occur this time. (The doctor says that when the shots are working well, the bone marrow expands and makes the bones ache.) Nevertheless, the shots must have worked, because her white count was high.

We've tried everything in the book to keep her from getting sick, but she still got sick and vomited tonight around 8:00 or so. I feel so badly for her; she's not feeling well at all. It will likely be a day or two before she can hold anything down, if past experience is any predictor.

Although she has another appointment next week for the second treatment in this cycle, it won't likely be bad at all, and so tonight she feels like she's halfway done. She's doing awesome!

Chemo today

Sherrie is scheduled for another attempt at chemo today. She had Neupogen shots on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Her hips ached a little, so hopefully that means the shots were working and building up the white cell count.

I'll tweet something later after we find out if she's able to receive the chemo today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Disappointing setback

Sherrie wasn't able to receive her chemotherapy injections today. Her white blood cell count was too low, particularly the infection-fighting component (count was 700, anything under 1000 is considered bad).

As a result, Sherrie is going to have three days of Neupogen shots, and then another attempt at chemo will be made on Monday, depending on whether the white cells come back up.

Apparently, the fact that her count was so low "slipped through the cracks" as the doctor said. The white count was 3.5 after the last series of shots. The doctor said that if he had known that, he would have ordered more shots until the count came up.

So Sherrie's schedule has slipped several days. From now on, chemo will be on Mondays, assuming no more slippage.

Sherrie was a bit disappointed, as she had psyched herself up for chemo today, a bad weekend, and feeling better early next week. Now, we'll have to wait.

It's probably for the best, as getting sick with a low count would likely set her back much more than a few days, besides being a bit dangerous.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cycle number three starts tomorrow

Sherrie starts chemo cycle number three tomorrow. She's had a great attitude the last several days, but started feeling a little nervous today. I think she's done marvelously at keeping a positive outlook through the whole ordeal. I can only imagine the feeling of dread that must come about now, but it doesn't show at all. She's a great example and my hero.

She had a CBC (blood count) today, but no word on her white cell count. I suppose the doctor will tell us tomorrow. After the last chemo injection two weeks ago, she started on Neupogen the next day. After five days of shots, her white count was only 3.6 or so. I think that the Neupogen and the chemo were having a battle for white cells. She didn't get sick, so the Neupogen must have won, though we wished the count had been a little higher after those five days of shots.

Nonetheless, she's made it through two complete cycles without getting sick (at least, nothing other than nausea and throwing up :-)

Her hair is essentially all gone. A lot of little nubs on the top of her head held on for quite some time, but they're pretty much all gone now. She rubbed many of them away in the last couple of days. Her head is sore in the spots where the hair is still falling out. She has a nicely shaped head, and I think she looks good bald, but nobody else will really get to see her that way; too bad.

We're hopeful that a combination of anti-nausea meds, ginger, and a positive outlook will keep the stomach problems away this time. After this cycle, she'll be halfway done!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sherrie's "chemo 2" day

Sherrie had "chemo 2" yesterday (they gave her only 5-FU). She was getting quite nervous in the days leading up to it, even though she didn't really have a bad reaction the first time. The nurses explained this as "anticipatory nausea," and it's apparently quite real for many people. The nurses told us that they've met some of their patients months or years after chemo and the patients will have the dry heaves or even throw up when they see the nurses! So Sherrie has this association problem to deal with each time we go.

She felt better after the treatment, though she did feel a little nauseous last night. She hasn't been without nausea since the "chemo 1" treatment (all three drugs) last week. Hopefully she'll get feeling noticeably better today.

Sherrie had a CBC yesterday and her white count was already down to 2.5. The nurses said they wouldn't do the treatment if it fell below 2.0. Since she's starting a five-day course of Neupogen today, they went ahead with the treatment yesterday.

She also has some sores on her head, so the doctor gave her a prescription for an antibiotic given her low blood count.