The Alien Within: 35 – Neutrophils & Lockdown…
Lockdown, don’t panic…
I met a lovely lady in the Day Unit today…
Having already been through breast cancer in 2009, her cancer had returned in other places and she was undergoing Chemotherapy. In fact she was on her penultimate cycle as we chatted. She was telling me how the treatment had been both sickening, painful and draining for her this time around.
And then she informed me she had asked her doctor why she should continue with her treatment.
When I queried this she simply said, “because they told me last week it is terminal this time…”.
This disease is both extremely stealthy, totally indiscriminate and unequivocally deadly!
It knows no boundaries; it does not have feelings; nor does it give a flying fuck who, or what you are, or even whether it has invaded you previously.
Live life to the full people, from this minute on. And, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely hope none of you, or anyone close to you, are ever touched by your own personal Alien Within.
As you may have guessed, or even read from yesterday’s entry, I attended the Day Unit today for the third of my mid-cycle Bloods sessions.
This time, it transpires, I am neuropenic…
I will let Cancer.net explain:
Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015
Neutropenia is a low level of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. All white blood cells help the body fight infection. Neutrophils fight infection by destroying harmful bacteria and fungi or yeast that invade the body. Neutrophils are made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue found inside larger bones such as the pelvis, vertebrae, and ribs.
Some level of neutropenia occurs in about half of people with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy. It is a common side effect in people with leukemia. If you have neutropenia, pay close attention to personal hygiene, such as hand washing, to lower your risk of infection.
People who have neutropenia have a higher risk of developing serious infections. This is because they do not have enough neutrophils to destroy organisms that cause infection. People with severe or long-lasting neutropenia are more likely to develop an infection.
My neurophils count today was borderline seriously low.
To help my system recover and protect it whilst it does, I have two more new drugs to ingest this time around; Aciclovir tablets & Itraconazole oral solution…
What is worse, while this symptom persists, is the list of stuff I have to avoid partaking of! The list of foods to avoid is extensive, including some of my favourites, as well as some surprising entries; such as ground pepper and black peppercorns (uncooked); bottled mineral water; freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice and; so it goes on.
Hopefully, it will only be a short while before my neutrophils recover, although because it is a Bank Holiday weekend and I am at Addenbrookes on Tuesday, it may be Wednesday or Thursday before my Bloods are checked again. Unless Addenbrookes will check while I am there…
So, until then, especially over this coming weekend, I am, as a certain Mr Smooth Matt suggests, under lockdown!
Jill has already made it clear I am to undertake no infection risk activity, gardening for instance, and is even questioning whether I should still be walking Benson. Well, I am not giving that up so easily.
Tomorrow, it seems, is a rest day! And the next day, and the next…
I do have a potential buyer coming to see the old black Mamba in the p.m. Saturday – should I wear a surgical mask perhaps?
NEXT: Cycle 2 – Day 13