We received an eMail from our Oncologist”s assistant, Shahnaz, that we should come in ad see Dr. Hedley on Wednesday, the day before our chemo. He needs to see the blood results and discuss us taking Neulasta, a drug designed to boost the white blood cell count. It appears to be standard release in the breast cancer clinics. That is as long as you can afford the $2,800 per month price tag. This drug is not covered by our delightful universal health care system. The cost is covered by Janet’s rivate health care plan courtesy of Ogilvy & Mather.
I did the required blood work on Wednesday morning. Went to the Art Therapy session, home for a bite, the to see the ever delightful Dr. Hedley. Have I mentioned how incredibly kind and gentle this man is? Well, that has not changed from our last visit. We discussed the benefits of Neulasta, and the inevitable side effects. My chemo starts on Thursday, I get disconnected from the baby bottle on Saturday. Neulasta is set for Monday. Would I care to self-administer? Think not! I will let Shahnaz do the honours.
The CEA blood results were positive in that the numbers are declining. Dr. Hedley did not make a fuss about them. I think we need a couple more counts to determine the trend. Two counts create an indicator. Four will start creating a trend of sorts.
My white blood cell count is low. We went from 0.8, to 3.9, back to 0.8, up to 6.7, down to 0.8. The last count from Wednesday morning showed a dramatic nothingness. Up to 0.9. Neulasta it is then. The good doctor says we cannot afford to iss these weeks.
I cannot pretend I understand what these number represent. All I know is that my chart has little asterisks whenever a number is too high or too low. I cannot understand why a number would drop from 6.7 to 0.8 in one week. and no one appears to have an explanation. There appears o be lot of, this is just the way it is. I am as accepting as the next guy, but it would be nice to know.
I have been told to rest a lot. But that has not helped. I wrote an entry a while ago about the voice as a barometer. That has not changed My voice fluctuates with the state of my health. It is almost a whisper at the moment and has been for over a week. It made a comeback after the visit with Dr. Hedley which shows that the voice is affected by physical and psychological impulses. It went back to a whisper on Thursday in honour of chemo day.
I was delighted that my appointment was for 8:30 in the morning. A couple of hours on the chair, home, hopefully before noon, great way to start the day. Better home around noon that at 7PM.
What a disaster. we got there at 8:30 and had to wait for them to get in touch with Dr. Hedley to make sure we could go ahead with he treatments. His office had not updated the files. They are all so over worked, it is not funny. We had waited an hour when Janet went to investigate. She located Shahnaz who works in the breast clinic on Thursdays. The clinic is located right next door to the Chemo Daycare. This was a no brainer. Shahnaz call it in.
My drugs had not been prepared, since they were not expecting me to get treated. We waited another half hour and I went in to investigate. They explained that they are waiting for the pharmacy but do not have a set time. I was pretty wasted by 10:30 and went to investigate again. The people at the front desk gave me a very hard time. Interrupting me. asking me why I was asking so often. They decided to have the nurses all me in to get rid of me. I refused to go and sit in the chair inside. What is the difference between waiting outside or inside if they do not know how long the wait is?
They gave me a pager and Janet and I decided to get get a bite. I had a chicken salad sandwich on brown with all the trimmings. That and a bottle of water, and I was back in shape. The pager went off almost as soon as I had finished my scrumptious meal.
We wnet in as instructed and made our way to our station. A very young nurse, as it turn out 23 years old would look after us. She said later that she thought I would be trouble. The best thing that happened is that one of the nurses with whom I get along particularly well came by and we joked around for a while. That helped ease any notions that I would be trouble.
This is a great department. Once you go through the doors to the clinic itself. The staff at the front desk have issues. They are in the wrong job. We appear to be in their way, and they are rarely prepared to help out.
We were finally out of there by 1:30. Ridiculous I say. Had a bite to eat, and straight to bed for a couple of hours of sleep.
The nurses in the Daycare do a lot of cross checking before giving you drugs. They check your tag, cross referencing your hospital number, last and first names, and finally ask your date of birth. The do this every time they connect you to a drug. They had misplaced my 5FU drug. This is the one in the baby bottle that I get to take home with me. They found it, but all the cross referencing prevents them from giving it to the wrong person.
Not much more to say about this. Looking forward to the Neulasta. Could use the energy boost.
Thank you for reading.