COLUMN: Have a bathroom to yourself for this test
So how was your week?
HEY THERE… IT’S ME KATHY BY KATHY GOLEMIEC
How was your week? Mine was a sleepy, lazy week.
When my blood count drops, the first thing I notice is my lips get very pale and they feel strange and no matter how much makeup and blush I put on it disappears in a matter of half an hour. Then I get “do you ever look pale today” from everyone.
When the blood count really drops, what happens is that I get really, really tired to the point that I can’t get out of my way. No matter how much sleep I get, it only takes a few minutes of any kind of activity to make me want to sleep again.
I can get out of bed, get a shower, get ready for the day and that’s it. I’m so tired again, I don’t even feel like making myself breakfast. It’s a very different feeling than just being tired, it’s more of an exhaustion.
My blood count relates to my white blood cells, a good range number is between five and 10, but if it’s under that or over that, there is trouble brewing somewhere in my body.
After I get my heavy chemo, I have to watch my body signals between the fifth and seventh day because my blood count can drop and then it’s not a happy day.
Last week, when I was put in the hospital, my count was .9, so it definitely wasn’t good. The signs were cold chills and fever and I couldn’t move off the couch. I just wanted to sleep and after six days of antibiotics, my count went up to five so I was able to go home.
When the white blood count is low, you should not go out in public, you don’t have much in the way of an immune system and it’s really not the time you want a cold. My fear is chicken pox. I have never had them and even the vaccination for them didn’t take. Ha, I was the only kid around who didn’t have a round vaccination circle on her arm.
White blood cells are made in your bone marrow and they fight infection. There is usually nothing you can do to get your body to make white cells faster. Usually after the drop in the fifth or seventh day after heavy chemo, if there is no infection, the count will start to go up.
My count today is seven, woo hoo! I got my IV meds Herceptin and Perjeta today. Thursday is the awful one again so keep your fingers crossed it goes better this time around. It’s hard to believe it’s been 21 days between treatments already – times flies even if you’re not having fun.
I had my first blood test done today, too, I get her to take it from my finger and I can’t watch that either. I am a really big wimp.
I know you are wondering how my hair is doing. Well, that’s another story. It’s falling out everywhere. When I got out of the hospital, I cut it to my shoulders. I still have a bit left but it won’t be there for long.
When your hair lets go from your scalp, it is not as if you pulled out your hair, there is no feeling, it just comes out in handfuls. It doesn’t all fall out at once, it starts like a thinning effect. That’s the stage I’m at now. I had a guy say to me this weekend, “do you have a dog?” I said, “no, why do you ask?” He said, “well the back of your shirt is full of hair and I thought maybe you had a dog that’s shedding.” Ha, nope, it’s just me shedding.
The last time I lost my hair, I was very nervous of how I would look. Remember, I am Polish. I was always told we had square heads so I was nervous that I was going to have this very square head. Woo hoo, I didn’t.
We do have a flat spot and yes some of us, if you put an angler square on our head, it does fit. Ha, my brother Kevin tried that and it was a perfect fit.
Archie Bunker coined the phrase ‘meathead’ for Poles. I got that a lot growing up. It didn’t bother me because I was always proud of my heritage.
My little car decided to break down last week as well and I had to get new struts and joints. I am glad it’s working again for another while and its gets me to the hospital and back.
To end a bad week, Mary and I went to Barb’s Diner in Westville for dinner yesterday. The food is always great and, yes, I had gravy on the fish and chips. I know, no fried foods, but I pretended it was salad and that made the guilt go away.
Weight wise, woo hoo pants buttoned.
Have a good week folks and, yes, the house flies are everywhere.
Kathy Golemiec is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. She writes a weekly column on her experiences.