“You are low on your neutrophils, Stacey.” Candy, my nurse, advised me today during my visit to determine how “fit” I was for chemo.
My heart sunk to my feet. That would mean a delay. That would mean my “new beginning” would also be delayed! I would have to put off my healing. I would have to delay life without chemo. I was devastated. I was also determined to not give up my quest for treatment yet. I would keep trying. I wanted to ring that bell that marked the end of treatment! I had dreamed of ringing that bell for months! I knew the delay may only have been one or two weeks – but … well.. I really wanted to be done.
“By how much, Candy?”
“Not much, but it is below the cut-off. I don’t know the doctor well enough to predict what he will do to either go ahead or not. The good news is your CA is now at 13. You began at over 500! We worry about anyone whose CA is above 35. That is fantastic!”
And that was good news! Month by month I had noted that that cancer marker was dropping – and now it was so very good. Still, I wanted the chemo to be over. So – I returned to it once more to plead my case.
“But it’s my last chemo!” I cried out in desperation. “I promise I will be good and stay away from people and germs and crowds and things! I promise I will take that Neulasta and eat lots of onions and greens and…” I rambled. “Please, please, please, let me take my last chemo!”
“It’s up to the doctor, Stacey. But you look great! You look fantastic! Do you have any issues like numbness or tingling?”
“No – none! I’ve been so very lucky! I have not been nauseous either.”
Candy asked, “Have you been tired?”
“Well, yes. But it’s not bad. And I rest when I need to.”
Candy continued, “Have you had any swelling in your ankles?”
Candy continued again, “How is your appetite?”
“Great! And I’ve been cooking all kinds of healthy foods.”
“Well, you sound good, Stacey. I’ll get the doctor and see what he says. He may say yes, but then again, he may say no.”
And off she went. I held my breath.
Finally the doctor arrived, reviewed the same questions, listened to my heart and to my lungs. “Well, you look good. You are not dehydrated. You are good to take Neulasta?”
“YES! If it means I can have chemo!” I exclaimed.
“Okay – I will register you for your chemo tomorrow as it is your last.”
Hallelujah! I’m not sure how ironic it was that I rejoiced at the thought of being poisoned one more time – but there I was counting my blessings one more time. It was – at that moment – not poison, but the elixir of life.
And so – it is to be – that tomorrow I WILL ring that bell!