This week was meant to be the beginning of cycle 3 in my chemo regime. Unfortunately, my neutrophils were too low again, down to 0.7 this time, therefore my chemotherapy has been rescheduled for next week. As this is now the second time that my treatment has had to be postponed I was a bit more prepared for the phonecall from the hospital on this occasion and I took the news in my stride. Until I went onto the forum to talk to my friends about my delay…then the reality kicked in.
While it is great that no one else seems to have problems with their blood cells increasing to the required level before their chemo session, I couldn’t help feeling a bit hard done by. Why me? This now means I have gone from being one of the front runners among my group of fellow chemo patients, to being one of the last to progress to the next cycle. It may sound crazy but I have chemo envy! Don’t get me wrong, I hate the treatment and the nasty side effects but I so want to get it over and done with. My husband pointed out that it is not a competition, but having a week’s delay (for the second time) just moves the end goal for me. That lovely finish line that I dream about, is being put out of my reach again. Not fair. While my friends on the forum are talking about taking their anti-sickness tablet in preparation for their treatment, preparing a hot drink to help them through the unpleasant cold capping experience, and ticking off another chemo session, I am filling in the extra days of my cycle in my daily diary thinking ‘that should have been me’ and ‘ I should be on day 5 of cycle 3, not day 25 of cycle 2’.
Not only is the end goal being moved further away but the delays are impacting on my more immediate plans as well. Last time I had to cancel some theatre tickets as the delay meant that my immunity would have been at its lowest on the day of the performance. This time it throws a spanner in the works of being able to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday in a ‘normal’ way. Looking further ahead, the constant question on my mind is, when will I ever be able to return to work?
I can only hope that future delays will be avoided as the nurse said she will speak to the oncologist about either giving me a week’s worth of injections to increase my white blood cells, or reducing the dose of my chemotherapy. Although this is good news, it does bring up a lot of questions. Do I really want to have injections which can cause horrible side effects according to my friends on the forum? What are the implications of reducing the chemo dose? Does that mean I will have to have more cycles? If not, will it reduce the effectiveness of the treatment?
As always, nothing is straightforward in this epic struggle of trying to eradicate the cancer cells and throwing everything in their path to prevent their return.