Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Monday, April 30th, 2007 - Chemo Session #4

Hiya Bloggy!

Me again.... same date typing entries, but different day that I'm writing about. Right now, I'm writing about Monday's adventures :) If you are reading this right now and haven't read Sunday's entry, you might want to go back and read that. Sunday was the day of the afternoon party in Paradise Valley and I've included lots of pictures. Monday's entry doesn't have any pictures :D

Naaa... today was Chemo day! As well, since I forgot to get my blood work done on Friday, I had to get up early so I could get Bridget out for her morning walkie and then get me to the Cancer Agency Lab and beg them to do my blood work so we wouldn't have to reschedule the afternoon chemo appt. They can't go ahead with the chemo treatment if they don't have the latest blood work results because the results from those tests will determine whether my immune system can handle the next chemo treatment, or whether they would have to postpone it to let the white blood cells regenerate.

Sooooo... off I went to the Cancer Clinic and lo and behold, they were soooo nice! Not only did they say of course they could do my blood work (I knew they would, I just figured I might be there all morning waiting to be squeezed in without an appt.) but they took me in right away. I didn't even get a chance to sit in the waiting room!

The blood work took all of 5 minutes from the minute I got there until I was finished! So then I went to the 4th floor to my oncologist's office because I had forgotten to tell her when I saw her last week that I was running low on my Oxycodone pills. She wasn't in because she also works at the University of BC, so her secretary said that she would get a hold of her and then call the prescription in to my drugstore...and she would call me once she had done this so I would know when it would be ready for me to pick up.

I then went in search of a "Touchless" car wash. Hahahaha... after yesterday's adventure on the dirt roads up at Paradise Valley, my Saturn Vue was FILTHY!! So I just couldn't stand looking at it in the carport looking so dirty, so I now had time to get it washed before I had to be back for the chemo appt. in the afternoon. Oh joy... it was great to get it clean again!!

Now I had time to go out for breakfast! Is this not a pampering kind of day or what??? I went to the Dutch Pannoekoek House... my favourite breakfast restaurant! There are a few of them throughout Vancouver, so I went to the one at Oak and 16th.

By this time, Steve O. had called to hunt me down. hahahaha... poor boy was hung over! He had been out the night before with friends, and went to a couple of pubs while the Hockey Game was on... then they just carried on. So I told him that if he was feeling rough, not to worry. I was out and about and could get myself back to the Cancer Agency for the chemo appt... and I had my book with me so could amuse myself during the four hours I had to be there for the chemo. Nope... Steve wouldn't hear of this... he was going to come with me whether he was hung over or not. Although he knew I could get myself to the clinic, no one knows whether one time, I could be hit with symptoms/side affects after the chemo and wouldn't be able to drive myself back. Besides... both he and Jo figure that I shouldn't have to go through the chemo on my own. Also, there are a lot of others of you friends out there who have all volunteered to drive and sit with me, so I am surrounded by you wonderful folk! Of course, Steve won out, so after I finished my late breakfast, I headed over to his condo. From there, we went to the appt.

Hahahaha... I DROVE!! And we took my car since I had it there and he said that if I did have a problem and couldn't drive home, then he would just have to learn how to drive Standard in my car on our way home (grin).

When we got there, our nurse today was Anna. She was delightful! And I think she was very intrigued by us because once she had me hooked up, we brought out our Blokus game (the strategy game with tiles and a board). She as very interested in the game and how it worked... but was cracking up at Steve and my banter back and forth. I kept reminding him that he had to let me win, after all, I was getting chemo because of my cancer, don't you know. He would say, forget it... he was suffering a lot more than I was because he was hung over. At one point, when I had to go to the bathroom, nurse Anna said that it was so nice of Steve to come and support me during the session and drive me to/from the session while he was hung over. Now that was a sign of a true friend. Hahahaha... Steve said, "Are you kidding?? I made HER drive and she will have to drive home. I'm here to play blokus and by the time we leave the hangover should be gone." Well, nurse Anna just cracked up over that!

Oooooh and here's the good news! I asked nurse Anna if she had access to the blood work that I had done a couple of hours earlier and she said yes... and that she would print me off a copy. So, here are the results -- the first numbers are my results, the numbers in brackets are what are considered a normal, healthy reading:

CBC & Differential

WBC Count (white blood cell count) 8.7 (4.0 - 11.0)
RBC Count (red blood cell count) 4.84 (3.80 - 5.20)
Hemoglobin 123 (115 - 155)
Hematocrit 0.378 (0.35 - 0.45)
MCV *78.1 (82 - 98)
RDW *18.3 (11.0 - 15.0)
Platelet Count 176 (150 - 400)
Neutrophils 5.3 (2.0 - 8.0)
Lymophocytes 2.4 (1.2 - 3.5)
Eosinophils 0.3 (0.0 - 0.2)
Alkaline Phosphatase 83 (50 - 160)
AST 15 (10 - 38)

Creatinine 60 (40 - 95)
Estimated GFR 91
(Glomerular filtrtion rate extimated from serum creatinine: subject to diet, drugs, and clinical state. Values less than 60 indicate reduced kidney function.)

Bilirubin, Total 6 (0 - 18)

So, there you have it... overall a wonderful set of results considering this was going into the 4th Chemo session. The only two that were under or over the norms was the MCV and RDW results. MCV is:

Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) - This helps diagnose a cause of an anemia. Low values suggest iron deficiency, high values suggest either deficiencies of B12 or Folate, ineffective production in the bone marrow, or recent blood loss with replacement by newer (and larger) cells from the bone marrow.

So, I figure if maybe I up some of my leafy green veggies and get a bit more iron in me, this would bring this up to normal status.

RDW is:

The red blood cell distribution width, or RDW, is a measure of the variation of red blood cell volume that is reported as part of a standard complete blood count. Usually red blood cells are a standard size. Certain disorders, however, cause a significant variation in cell size. Higher RDW values indicate greater variation in size. Normal range in human red blood cells is 11 - 15%. If anemia is observed, RDW test results are often used together with MCV results to figure out what the cause of the anemia might be. It is mainly used to differentiate between iron deficiency anemia, in which RDW is elevated, and other microcytic anemias. It may denote hereditary spherocytosis. An elevated RDW, i.e. red blood cells of unequal sizes, is known as anisocytosis.

Mathematically the RDW is calculated with the following formula:

RDW = (Standard deviation of red cell volume ÷ mean cell volume) × 100

My RDW is slightly elevated at 18%... but not high enough to indicate anemia, so I don't think this one is too much of a concern. At least, the doctors don't think so. They think my blood work is as close to perfect as it can possibly be and who would have even been able to tell that I am getting two very aggressive chemo drugs pumped into me.

So, I beez very pleased with the above :)

There you have it... I am now almost caught up in the blogster! Well, I do have to record my today's (Tuesday) blog, but I'm getting a little tired right now, so I will catch that up tomorrow (chuckle).

Ciao for now!


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