I had my second treatment of Gemzar last Monday (August 13). This time it was buffered by a double dose of IV steroids and a bit kinder on my body. Monday night my legs ached, but the pain was gone by morning. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in bed with a fever, chills, and aches. This time the fevers didn’t get higher than 100.2° F, though, and I didn’t need to go to the hospital. Friday I started feeling human and was out of bed for half of the day. Saturday I felt pretty decent, and Sunday I felt good.
Walking in to the doctor’s office yesterday morning, it felt like Groundhog Day, and I readied myself to do it all again.
The nurse and I completed our usual routine: weight, temp, port access, blood draw, and standard questions. When my doctor walked in the room, laptop in hand, I said, “here we go again.” But he shook his head, “Nope.”
As it turns out, my white blood cell count was far too low to receive treatment. Having chemo would probably have put me in the hospital with a fever of 104° or higher. No thanks.
Because one type of white blood cell, neutrophils, were particularly low, I got a shot of Neupogen to help my bone marrow make more of them. My hemoglobin was low too, but I passed on the shot of Aranesp. My doctor felt it would naturally rise over the next week and honored my request. I want to stay away from it until he tells me it’s absolutely necessary; the bone pain it caused lasted nearly two weeks.
I got my shot, the nurse de-accessed my port, and I was on my way. Next week will be the same routine; but I’m sure my levels will have recovered, and I will get my chemo. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my newly discovered fever-free days!