On the Monday after my first Adriamycin chemotherapy treatment, I had a physical exam from my oncologist. The doctor sat down with me first and asked how I was coping with the whole cancer concept in general, and how I was feeling overall. Then we discussed my treatment, and finally, he examined me. He said he could feel a difference in the size of the tumor, which meant it was responding to treatment. This was definitely a good thing. My blood work was still looking good, so we were good to go for another round of treatment. I had three more rounds to go. The week that followed brought more fatigue and nausea. I was still working, but having to work shortened days, usually 6-7 hours a day. I did what I had to have finished for the day, and then I left. I had blood work drawn again on Thursday. I was thankful for his office staff – administrative and nursing. They were all so kind and caring, and they all treated you like a person. That is not something you find in every doctor’s office.
That weekend was our trip to New Orleans I mentioned in my last post, where we had a blast. On the Monday after my trip (14 days post chemo), my white blood count was up to a 12. This was a significant improvement from the 2 I received on the previous Thursday (10 days post chemo). The lowest your white blood count should get is 4. My next treatment was just over a week away. Although my day brought great news, when I picked my daughter up from daycare, my good news was replaced with somber news. I was friends with the center’s director and a few of the other parents. One of my daughter’s classmate’s older sister was also fighting cancer. She was 8-years-old and had stage IV stomach cancer. She had been in chemotherapy for 8 months. She had received the results of her most recent tests that day, and they showed her cancer had spread to her scalp and lungs. This was a precious little girl, and she was fighting this disease with everything she had - and the cancer was winning.
I was also hearing stories about another friend of mine who was also dealing with breast cancer. She and I had worked together. She had inflammatory breast cancer. She had not been feeling well lately, either. I felt really bad. I was doing well, while these people I cared about were not. It was a struggle. When you have cancer, and you are doing well, and you hear of someone not doing well, or even losing their fight with the disease, there is a sense of guilt that comes with it. I cannot explain it, nor do I know why it is there, all I know is it exists, and it is a miserable feeling.