To Chemo or Not to Chemo #59

I started my new chemo combo therapy called Gemzar and Carboplatin 10 days after I finished with my last 21 days Ibrance cycle. A Gemzar/Carbo cycle is day 1 and day 8 then a week off then start over. We checked my blood panels which weren’t too bad, just some lower than normal cell counts (as if I’ve never heard that before!) and my liver enzymes were high. But I forged ahead and got my first dose anyway.

KICKED MY ASS is what it did! I was in bed for 3 days with a fever, a headache, nausea, chills, sweats and no appetite. Been a long time since I’ve had that difficult of a time with chemo so when I saw The Blood Guy 5 days later we discussed changing my dosage a bit. Then Day 8 comes (or dose 2) and just before I’m hooked up blood comes back with my liver enzymes way too high. Like 6 times what they are supposed to be!  Blood Guy cancels chemo and says my liver needs to rest. My instructions are to do liver panel again in 7 days and based on that, next step is liver ultrasound.

7 days later liver enzymes are creeping down so no ultrasound. I simply think my liver is just really mad again (rightfully so) and in the future when being forced to change chemotherapy make sure I have a few weeks off between agents.

During my 2 weeks off I planted my gardens, at my house and the rooster’s house, cleaned the house, walked a little bit everyday and got back into juicing. Time to see The Blood Guy again before Cycle 2, dose 1 of Gemzar/Carbo. Blood panels look fine I am good to go on Thursday June 2nd.

This time it wasn’t too hard, just mostly tired and a headache. But during all this I am really starting to hurt. Deep bone hurting in my spine and left hip. It hurts to get up and sit down. I can’t stand for longer than 20 min without bending over and opening up my spine. I’m starting to limp again. The Blood Guy said I can’t do radiation yet cuz we’re chasing my cell counts as it is and I need systemic coverage before I can get pinpoint pain relief. Remember, radiation kills bone marrow as does chemo and I need to have some kind of an immune system! So, after much discussion we have changed my pain medication to a longer acting one called Oxycontin. Really the only difference is one is short acting (oxycodone lasts 4-6 hours) where the other lasts 12 hours. And my goal is this is only temporary until I can get some radiation for pain control.

So, last Tuesday see the Blood Guy and my CBC says counts are low but not too low for chemo. Get to chemo on Thursday, orders require another CBC but to our dismay everything is lower! Much lower! So much so that The Blood Guy wants to cancel chemo again!

Now this is my problem…. If I can’t do pinpoint radiation to kill this cancer spot by spot AND my immune system and body aren’t exactly cooperating with the systemic approach therefore causing chemo to be cancelled every other week… WHAT IN THE HELL IS PROTECTING ME FROM ALLOWING IT TO BLOOM EVEN MORE THAN IT DID THE LAST 3 MONTHS… when I was on daily chemotherapy? It’s all I can think about… I need something to protect and fight back because I’m exhausted right now. While I understand it’s important to keep my counts up and be healthy I need some kind of treatment to happen. That being said, The Blood Guy agreed to partial chemo, Gemzar only and then I got a Neulasta shot on Friday. Neulasta tells our bones to make more bone marrow to make more white/red cell and Neutrophils (the important cells in our immune systems).

Here we are and I went and did my blood panel yesterday only to learn my platelets are super low now. My white/red cell counts are great but now I have no clotting factor and I’m unusualy tired. Don’t get me wrong, I’M ALWAYS TIRED but something just seemed off and now I know why. Platelets are supposed to be between 150-450 for a normal healthy person and in the low 100’s for someone like me on chronic chemo. Mine are 50. Thrombocytopenia is the technical name. The plan? Early tomorrow morning another quick CBC to check for change. Any lower I’m off to the outpatient infusion room for a couple packs of platelets, if higher than I’ll be fine and they’ll slowly increase. Let’s hope for the latter!

Gemzar Chemo

Gemzar Chemo