Hiccup in remission? Drop in Red Cells

posted in: Cancer 0

The docs were so happy with Husband’s results last time that he was given 4 months before the next test. We were even able to fit in a holiday, to sit on the beach and swim and live as if he hasn’t got cancer. Except he has. It doesn’t go away, is always in the room with us, but it didn’t stop him having a great holiday. It seems increasingly important to grab every bit of normality, every bit of positive experience in life, to not give it up to cancer. Otherwise it will simply swallow us whole.

With this is mind we’ve decided to retire. Dr Inscrutable seemed very surprised at this “Aren’t you a bit young to retire?” Husband is 60 has been working in physical jobs since he was 14. He has a life limiting disease. And the Doc thinks he’s retiring early? I guess that’s encouraging.

Husband explained, “I just want to make the most of the time I have, I guess”, to which the Doc nodded sagely, seeming to understand.

The doc hasn’t yet given us the blood results. He knows how keen we are to have them so drops them on my lap as he heads off to check husband’s abdomen for ‘lumps and bumps’. My heart sinks. Platelets are down a bit but not at all significantly (348 to 327) but the red cell count has jumped down fro 146 to 135. Dr Inscrutable does his best to head my worries off at the pass, insisting that “Everything is completely normal. 135 is good for the majority of the normal population”. He explains that it could be because Husband had been taking quite a bit of exercise while on holiday, it could even be a different analyser “so I wouldn’t worry about that at all”. Except I do.

Something doesn’t feel right. The platelets have been going down since March (possibly before) but the red cell count has been stable. I don’t buy “135 is no different to 145” but I have learned that worrying does no good (shame I can’t stop doing it!) and that I have to at least try to listen to the doctors. I have a feeling that the doc is trying to sell us something he doesn’t believe either. Still, we need to wait for the next test.

Husband presses politely, “You wouldn’t want to see it trend down”. “No”, was the careful reply, adding “If it drops to 120, 110, that’s significant. I’m happy with your progress, the bloods are all normal.” Okay. He’s the consultant. Then he wrecked it by stressing that we shouldn’t worry …

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