Tuesday, August 28, 2007

08/28/07 - Update

My blood counts continued to drop the week after I had to cancel my Pittsburgh trip, although not quite low enough to receive another transfusion. The counts that were the worst were my neutrophils, which are a type of white blood cell, that aren't helped by transfusions anyhow. All I can do once they are low is take a daily antibiotic, which I have taken until today. I've been having my blood counts checked twice per week, usually Monday and Thursday, and they started to slowly come back up last week.

I had my 8-week doctor's appointment this morning, proceeded by an MRI and a blood draw (check of my counts). The MRI of my head was clear of any signs of the tumor, which is excellent. However, my blood counts weren't good enough to receive my next round of chemotherapy, which was the fifth cycle of eight, originally scheduled for next week around September fourth.

On the issue of my blood counts, they were worse this 8-week chemo cycle than any other. My doctors gave me the option of skipping this chemo cycle to see how fast they can recover, and that they (my bone marrow) were not permanently damaged. This being said, I was given the two options of a "drug holiday" - postponing chemo, or cancelling chemo altogether.

I'm going to try the "drug holiday" by postponing my chemo until about the end of October. I didn't want any changes from the regular chemo schedule, as I see this as being detrimental to my health. The doctors then said that this departure from the standard schedule of drugs is not unusual and may not be detrimental at all.

I have also been more tired, and I asked if this could be a problem. This doesn't appear to be a problem unless it negatively effects my quality of life. To resolve excess tiredness, they usually prescribe a stimulant which may be Ritalin or Provigil. I'm not going to take either unless my tiredness is very overwhelming.

In summary, I am going to stray a little from the "standard" treatment plan. I don't want to stray and I have yet to be adversely effected by my counts (other than the trip), but it is another doctor suggestion to go on a short holiday. The next time I receive chemo, they do plan on administering some drugs the next day to help my white blood cells (Neulasta) and Hemoglobin (Aranesp).

On the bright side, I should get a small break from chemotherapy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us updated. As sad as I am to hear about your blood levels, I'm also excited that the MRI was negative. Friend, I wish it were possible for us all to take a little of that chemo for you. It has to be a long road for you, but many have gone down it with great results. Hang on to that!

9/03/2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Mark said...


I have said it verbally before - I never knew my recovery would be so involved, or last so long... It's like an extended vacation, except I can't just do anything I want to. Thanks for your continued support!


9/07/2007 8:53 PM  

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