The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good times, bad times...

...I know I've had my share...

Those words are the beginning of the chorus lyrics for a Led Zeppelin song that came out in 1969. The song continues as a lamentation about the promises and disappointments of young love in a time that has been characterized as the free-love era. It is a song that has rattled around my brain for the past forty years or so. But it is easy to take just the beginning lines of the chorus and apply them more broadly - wouldn't you say?

Last week a dear friend from work announced that she had been diagnosed with "advanced ovarian cancer" (but without enough detail for me to deduce much of anything about her prognosis). But just her announcement is a crushing blow, as I feel like I know what is about to happen to her and in her world. She has been a pillar of support for me, and probably didn't even know it. Now the shoe is on the other foot, proverbially, and I am committed to support her however I can. Major surgery occurs this week, and I will be sending positive energy toward Portland on Thursday morning.

Many folks know that I was unable to be treated earlier this week due to my neutrophil level. Neutrophils are a key component of our white cell immunological defenses, and when they get too low (in the case of chemotherapy, below 1000 cells per milliliter) we are more susceptible to the casual illnesses (colds, infections, etc.) that we normally handle without noticing. So I have had an extra week of recovery and feeling good, and can say without hesitation that I prefer feeling good over chemotherapy. Like that is some kind of big news or something. Whatever. On Tuesday we will try a slightly different mixture of side-effect-countering drugs to see if we can improve the post-chemo treatment days a little. And I am moving up from neupogen/filgrastim (five daily shots to encourage white cell growth right after chemo) to neulasta/pegfilgrastim (a single more powerful shot given once the day after chemo). We shall see.

A dear, longtime friend of ours is visiting this weekend so that she and my wife can run a half-marathon together tomorrow. It is nice to hear their laughter together - about running, raising girls, long-ago escapades - and I am happy that I get to share some of their good times. That is really the key - to focus consciously on the good times, and to let the bad times go.


No comments: