Blood Tests, Chest Infection & Yet More Pills

posted in: Cancer 0

It’s time to go to the hospital, to face the facts (the few we can gather) rather than simply wondering. Husband feels good, although he often gets sleepy in the afternoon and needs a snooze. He’s been working and has been pretty active outdoors with heavy duty gardening and walking the dog. I can’t help but notice that he looks a bit grey at times but he hasn’t been sleeping well so perhaps it’s that. His skin is good with no sign of the ‘eczema’ patches. He’s puzzled by how breathless he gets walking or gardening but he doesn’t have that awful feeling of pumping sludge around his veins. He had one nosebleed earlier this month (after blowing his nose hard) but it wasn’t a bad one. So as far as he can tell he’s fine.

We wait for the doc to hear his view of things… The red cells are up a bit to 14.4, which is awesome. The platelets are down fractionally to 369 but we know that that’s so close to the previous count of 377 that there’s no need for concern – platelets vary naturally. Best of all the paraproteins are down to 3.6! That really is good news.

We ask the doc yet again about Husband’s chest. He still feels breathless, which is frustrating. The doc listens carefully to Husband’s chest and declares “not too bad”. I’m not quite sure how to take that except that he clearly doesn’t think that we should be concerned at this point. He explains that a lot of people have a degree of immunosuppression after this sort of chemo; hence the need to continue with both antibiotics. Husband’s general white cell count is fine at 6.6 but apparently his antibody levels are low. The doc explains that this is common “in your situation” so it’s important to have the flu vaccination annually. Recurring chest infections aren’t uncommon, can be mild or severe and can be hard to shake off. He notes that if necessary Husband can have monthly antibody infusions but suggests that he tries a third type of antibiotics first.

We go home with 3 sets of antibiotics – one to protect him because he has no spleen, another to protect him from pneumonia and the new one to help him to fight the chest infection. For someone who’s never taken much medication at all (he doesn’t even take pain killers unless he really needs them), he’s certainly making up for it now. I’m grateful that he does take everything as the docs direct. He doesn’t like the constant reminder of his cancer that the pills represent and he doesn’t like the fact that they upset his digestive system a bit but he does what the docs tell him to do.

The doc is very firm in his reminder that Husband has to remember that he is still immunosuppressed but he encourages us as we leave, “Your blood disorder is most unlikely to misbehave in the next few months.” That’s as good as we’re ever going to hear so we escape the consulting room and hospital as fast we can. In this weird world of indolent cancer, “Your cancer shouldn’t be doing much in the next few months” is quite exciting.

We are free for 3 months until the next appointment. Hopefully. We’ll never forget been told that Husband wouldn’t need to see the doc for 3 months and then being called in the following week and told he had to start chemo in the next few days. Nothing is guaranteed. But today the news is good.

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