Monday, September 19, 2011

Quick Update About BTBO Party and New Chemo

Hi all. I'm not up to full strength at the moment, but there are a few things I'd like to put out there at least briefly in the interim. I apologize if it comes out curt. You deserve more.

First and foremost,
from the bottom of my heart

for attending and/or donating to the Black Tie Breast Optional Party this 9.10.11. I am so honored by your support I don't know what else to say.   I heard our guests had a good time.   I, alas, wasn't able to attend! Which leads to my next update...

As many of you know, I was feeling very ill and stayed upstairs close to a bed pan and warm bath all evening. It turns out that my cancer has spread. This time it's crossed into my spinal and brain fluid. I've been undergoing a series of tests and procedures, etc, to figure it out, and I have a spinal tap scheduled this week to try some new chemo. We'll see where it goes from there.

Prognosis is 4-weeks to 6-months if you believe statistics. I plan to stick around at least another year that so I can actually enjoy a 2ND ANNUAL Black Tie Breast Optional Party, given I missed the inaugural one!

More later...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dancing to a Different Beat

I've always known I can't dance.  I don't have any rhythm.  It's not in my proverbial blood.  But it's usually not a problem that a few cocktails can't fix.  Lately, however, it's been getting a little crazy with my real blood. 

You'll recall that hours before leaving on vacation, my red cell count was so low that I had to get an emergency blood transfusion. Well, upon my return 11 days later, lab results showed that while red cells were back to normal, my platelets and white cells were too low.  We got back from Hawaii late in the afternoon last Monday, Aug 22nd.  I went to see my doctor for lab tests and chemo the following Tuesday morning.  Unfortunately, I was DENIED treatment for the week. 

I wasn't really surprised by the platelets results.  I suspected they were low because I was covered in bruises, but also because when I nicked my thumb opening a beer on some beautiful beach in Hawaii, it took over 5 minutes to stop bleeding.  (I know, I know -- drinking on the beach is dangerous work.)

At the same time, it didn't really cross my mind that low white cell counts might be why I was tired and light-headed occasionally.  I figured that was standard, vacation-overindulgence.  It wasn't until the lab report came back that it dawned on me the count had dropped so low because I didn't take Neupogen shots during vacation.  I'm supposed to give myself injections on certain days of every chemo cycle.  The vials cost thousands of dollars and have to be kept refrigerated.  I thought it would all go bad en route to Hawaii for 14 hours and/or because the ice packs would melt and fail TSA inspection, so I didn't bring any.

As a result of no shots, when I went back to the doc for the follow-up tests this past Monday, Aug 29, I was denied treatment AGAIN because, while platelets were back up, my white cells still hadn't rebounded and remained too low for chemo.  So we're up to two weeks in a row, plus my vacation week, that I haven't been on the program. 

I sure wish these side effects would get in sync.  If there's trouble with my blood, it'd be nice if all three parts - red, white and platelets - act up at the same time.  As if chemo and lab tests weren't disruptive enough, it's nuts being up and down and all around, never knowing which cells are gonna go haywire from week to week.  It's throwing me off tempo.  I've concluded that dancing is even more of a challenge when, besides lacking rhythm, you're also literally lacking some pulse in your blood.

Guess I'll keep drinking on the sidelines while "the beat goes on," probably laughing under-my-breath at people like me who can't dance but will do it anyway.  But I don't want to discourage anyone from coming, so I promise I won't don't that at our Black Tie Breast Optional Party.


I promise.

I'll be too busy.