This week, I got to wear a mask in the doctor’s office, albeit briefly. Good thing too – masks are not very comfortable.

Haven’t been in much of a mood for writing. Probably my rapidly descending blood counts have something to do with it. Also my sister is visiting and we’ve been doing stuff when I’ve had the energy – so I’ve not had a lot of excess energy for writing.

Last week I went to the oncologist for a check up. My counts were pretty low… I had an iron infusion, but I declined the neulasta shot. Neulasta stimulates your bone marrow to create white blood cells and neutrophils – or maybe just neutrophils, I forget. Neutrophils help our bodies fight disease – one of the big problems with people on chemotherapy is that as the chemo kills off the fast growing cells, with blood cells among the casualties. Without enough blood cells, we become anemic, and susceptible to infection – so people on chemo are often tired and infection magnets. Before stuff like neulasta, you’d end up in the hospital in isolation with IV antibiotics. But neulasta has its downsides. It can cause bone pain. And it’s awfully expensive. It probably has some other side effects as well… I didn’t bother looking them up. For me, low blood counts seem to result in a loss of my inquisitiveness.

So last Tuesday I woke up feeling like crap. Swollen lymph nodes around my neck, tired and seriously cranky. Back to the doctor. Blood counts were even lower, hence the mask – just in case another patient came in sick and we infected each other. An additional blood test showed evidence of infection. So I got some serious antibiotics and I agreed to the neulasta shot – a smaller dose than one usually gets right after chemo (the usual administration).

Went home and had a nap after the shot. About 3 hours into the nap, awoke with a throbbing pain in my lower back and hips. Then the pain moved to all my large bones – legs, breastbone, and of course back. Took some acetaminophen, but it didn’t help completely. Not much sleep that night, but graduated onto alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen. The pain went away after about 24 hours, and I felt better. I guess I have more energy to some extent. But I’m still dragging…

I’ve not had a child so I can’t compare this to the pain of childbirth. I did have a really severe case of pancreatitis before I had my gall bladder out, and that was pretty bad. This pain was quite bad too… mostly because it was nearly constant, with a throbbing, grabbing element that was less than pleasant. But it’s gone now and I shouldn’t have to have to have neulasta again.

Sometimes I wonder how I will feel when this is all over. I am tired. And tired of being tired. I have done some crochet, a little beading and necklace making, and I’ve watched a lot of TV – mostly old episodes of NCIS. I’ve played some angry birds, too, but I haven’t the brain power for anything requiring much thought. I don’t really enjoy being out for long periods of time because I get tired, and large crowds bother me, because I don’t want their germs. I am fussy, cranky and to some extent, paranoid. I know this changes your life in many ways. I hope some of these changes are only temporary. I’m exactly halfway through my chemo. It takes a long time, it seems. Tired of being tired, too…..

More soon……