Sometimes 20% Really Matters

These are representation of platelets, but they look like they are doing a happy dance to me!
These are representation of platelets, but they look like they are doing a happy dance to me!

My recent Oncology appointment discovered a slight problem.  My platelets were low, almost too low for treatment this week.  What a startling thing to hear that yet another thing is not going well.  So here is the run down my RN explained (because the dr who was covering for my normal dr didn’t help that much, grumble grumble):

Chemo attacks rapidly growing cells and this can include the bone marrow.  And the bone marrow produces the platelets in the blood.  The platelets allow for clotting, and thus are important. In addition to testing my platelet numbers before every treatment, they also test for white blood cells and plasma. The problem with the low platelets is that I can not get a transfusion for it, as would be possible for the other two items. 

In addition to that, she indicated, that sometimes the lab can’t do an accurate count because of how the platelets can hide behind one-another.  Consequently she was skeptical of the results since my platelets dropped in half between last treatment and Monday.  That seems odd to everyone.

So the next question from me is: “What can I do to get them back up?  Is there anything special I can eat, anything special I can do?”  Her response initially is that there really isn’t any proven method to get the body to make more platelets.  That being said, more iron wouldn’t hurt, it won’t necessarily make the platelet number increase, but iron is needed to create platelets.  So more iron being available isn’t a bad thing right now. Also I have to be careful to not cut myself, as my blood is already thinner then normal, so clotting could be an issue. Also no alcohol for me as it also thins the blodd. (pouty face) The other thing was to rest and take it easy.  However “taking it easy” seems to be all that I have done since surgery in May.  I think I have that one mastered, even if I still grumble now and then about it. 

So this week, I got to have a reduced dose of chemo by 20%.  And know what?  I am LOVING it!  The side-effects are almost non-existent.  I do not have severe cold sensitivity like during past treatments! Metal utensils are not pain inducing objects.  Metal door nobs don’t make me cringe.  My saliva isn’t too cold to swallow with out the sensitivity triggering and causing pain.  Walking barefoot in my bathroom and kitchen doesn’t make me look like a chicken on a hot tin roof.  My energy level is so much better.  I can sleep better.  Just overall I am feeling more “Human” than I was expecting.

So low platelets, for this week are a wonderful blessing. Plus the fact that my AWESOME boyfriend brought me down a huge amount of steak and lamb for me to consume this week.  Woohoo!

Let’s just pray that my platelet numbers do jump back up so I do not need to push my next treament a week or two, which would be a bad thing on many personal levels. 

But for today…. and tomorrow… and yesterday… I am rejoicing at the easy treatment week!  HAPPY DANCE!

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