the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.
synonyms: vitality, vigor, life, liveliness, animation, vivacity, spirit, spiritedness, verve, enthusiasm, zest, vibrancy, spark, sparkle, effervescence, ebullience, exuberance, buoyancy, spright
For some time I have been lacking liveliness, zest, vitality…..ENERGY! Staying in the house, and not being able to do much of anything became my “normal” way of living. It’s not a good way to live. Thankfully, things changed last week.
I went to DFCI for my weekly chemo infusion on Thursday. Before the infusion is given, blood is taken to check red and white blood cell counts, and we chat about any symptoms I may be experiencing. Mark and I mentioned my lack of energy, weakness, dizziness and breathlessness.
While waiting for the blood test results to come back from the lab, my oncology nurse appeared with some news. The red blood cell counts were very low and I would need a blood transfusion. This was not news to Mark and I. We figured as much as the counts have been going down for weeks, and my symptoms were becoming worse. I was told I would still be able receive my chemo treatment, but would have to wait for more blood tests to come back first.
I get nervous when I need to receive a blood transfusion. I always think something bad is going to happens, but it never does. I was happy that I would receive some much needed energy that had been missing for too long, and that I would be able to dance the jig afterward, or at least get out of the house.
My oncology nurse appeared and shared more news. My white blood cell counts were extremely low. They dipped dramatically from the previous week. They think my bone marrow may be tired from all the chemotherapy I’ve been getting, or the cancer is now in the bone marrow. We will know for sure at my next visit. This meant no chemo infusion. I was doing the happy dance in my head about this news. No chemo and a blood transfusion. Wow! I was going to have a good week…..and I did! I was able to the happy dance for real, not in my head.
For now we will keep an eye on the red blood cell count numbers, and when they get to a certain number, in which I start becoming symptomatic, it will probably be time for another infusion.
If you read my last blog, you may remember that I received a brain MRI recently. I am thrilled to report it came back “clean”. It was wonderful to hear good news for a change. A shout of yippee was heard around the world.
While I was wondering about my MRI results, and experiencing some minor side effects from the Taxol, my chemotherapy, I forgot about one major side effect. I forgot I was going to lose my hair. Then, it happened. A week after my second round of Taxol, my hair started falling out fast and furious, and my scalp began to hurt. My hair would run down my back in clumps and down into the drain while I showered. I would be eating dinner, and my hair would fall into my food, which in turn would end up in my mouth. Oh yum!
Five years ago I went through a similar situation. I had Mark shave what hair was left on my head, and on Sunday morning, I had him do it again. My scalp feels better, and I don’t have to worry about eating my hair. Having no hair on my head does not bother me, and I do not wear a wig. No hair saves quite a bit of time getting ready in the morning, and not having to shave during this time of year is a plus. I wish I started Taxol at the beginning of the summer. Nah, just kidding! There are some good things about having chemotherapy. You just have to look for the silver lining.