OK. Last Friday (8/31) was supposed to be chemo treatment #7. Didn't happen. After a friend gave me a ride up to Portland, and watched me get "accessed" through my PowerPort, by blood test results were not what they needed to be in order to meet the requirements of the clinical trial protocol. The key indicator (ANC - Absolute Neutrophil Count) was 1.3 (1300 neutrophils per milliliter) and it needed to be a 1.5. Very disappointing, to say the least. I was hoping that I would be able to power through this whole chemo-therapy thing (just like I have managed to power through all the other challenges that life has thrown my way over the years). As an aside (for all the detail-oriented bio-geeks out there): my platelet, white blood cell and red blood cell counts were steady; I lost another pound (down to 159.3 lbs); I had significant increases in two measures of my liver enzymes (unexplained now, and we will learn more next week when we try to get #7 again); my blood sugar (glucose) was slightly higher; and there was a small amount of lipids (fat) in my blood sample (also unexplained, and to be reinspected next week).
So, #7 is now rescheduled for Sept 6th (Thursday), and then the two-week regimen restarts. One of the greater pains is rescheduling all the appointments...
This setback hit me pretty hard. One of the reasons that my friend took me to Portland was due to the fact that my close friends from college and I were going to Spamalot. What a treat that was (seeing my friends and then the show)! But I was distracted the entire time by this blood test thing. And even though I know (from a factual perspective) that this is not the end of the world, and that things may in fact be better with an extra week off, I felt like I had failed somehow. I am not a fan of failure, even though I have no conscious control over my bone marrow and its ability to produce neutrophils (which are the precursor cells that support the fighting of infection). And I understand, academically, that the protocol is set up to protect the patient (uhhh... me) over the course of the treatment. I am just so looking forward to this stage being behind me.
So, once again I am compelled to remind you friends, family, and Internet blog surfers - get a colonoscopy! It's so much easier than this chemo. And go see Spamalot... those guys are insanely funny.