Husband came into sitting room after shower. ‘Look at my hands. What do you see?’ Mmm. ‘They’re pink! My hands haven’t been pink in years!’
Another blood test, this time to confirm that all’s well for chemo next week. Hameoglobin is 11.9 :-), platelets 483, white cells 5. Dr Humour declares ‘That’s good’.
He mentions that they often do a scan after the 4th chemo session but since they didn’t do one before chemo started (to give a base line) there wouldn’t be much point. The decision to begin treatment was based not on a scan but on the haemoglobin levels in gradual decline (and the platelet levels which were clearly in decline – they gave us a kind of early warning as patients. Since they don’t last as long as red blood cells I guess they indicate a possible problem earlier). Since the blood levels gave evidence that treatment was necessary they will be a good indicator as to the effectiveness of the treatment.
Dr Humour explains that chemo is like tidying up a shed – it gives more room for the ‘blood production lines’. If the red cell and platelet levels are going up it can’t be a bad thing in Husband’s case – it means that there’s ‘less of the bad stuff around’.
What we don’t really know (and dare not ask at this point) is at what point they’ll have an idea of how the treatment is working. Doc did say that there will be some fluctuation in levels after chemo finishes. If the 11.9 drops to 11.5 it may just be Husband’s level (or new level). Levels go up and down but trends are key. The levels may go down after chemo finishes (or not) but only after 2 or 3 dips (if they happen) will they have some idea of the trend. The likely appointment schedule after chemo will be 1 week after, 2 weeks after that, 3 weeks then 4 weeks.
The doc is happy for us to plan a holiday: ‘The evidence is that things are working and will continue to do so. Go to France, get body and soul back together and come back and we’ll see what’s what.’
Clearly there are no guarantees but Doc is clear that the improvement in blood counts is good. We’ll have to see what levels they get to, where the numbers level out, what is normal for Husband.