Thank you to Cheryl Johnson for being my underground supplier of People magazine and to Bill & Cathy Clarke for the "Team Deets" hats. A special thank you to my brother Doug for keeping me company during my treatment on Friday.
If you are thinking "I thought he was supposed to get treatment on Thursday?" you are in good company. The visit to Dr. Frenette's started just fine (weight, pulse, blood pressure, etc.), but came to a complete stop when the results of my bloodwork came back. I felt great, looked average as normal, but apparently the previous treatment had wreaked havoc on my immune system. My white blood cell count was insanely low, as was my Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC). These cells are particularly important in fighting off infection and are the first responders to the traumas your body might experience, so you do not want to go without.
Fortunately for me, modern medicine saved the day again. Dr. Frenette ordered up a shot of Neupogen and sent me home to wait for 24 hours. Neupogen is aptly named, since it is designed to quickly increase your Neutrophil count, through stimulation of your bone marrow. It is strong stuff and made my bones ache like I got hit repeatedly with a baseball bat.
I was naturally pessimistic upon arrival to Dr. Frenette's on Friday, thinking that there was no chance of receiving treatment and that my prognosis was tanking. Jennifer, my oncology nurse for the day, was more optimistic however. As she told Stuart and me, "I would bet the farm he is getting chemo today". Why did she think this? Neupogen works great in young, "otherwise healthy" people. If I had a nickel for every time I heard that description of myself, I would be a young, rich, "otherwise healthy" person. She turned out to be right though.
This treatment was a little quicker than the last, maybe 3 1/2 hours all told. The side effects were similar...fatigue, nausea and that crazy pain in my mouth. I graded the days as:
Sunday: 4 (I did manage to force myself out to trick-or-treat with the kids for a few minutes)
Keep your good thoughts and prayers coming. 1 cycle down, 5 to go.