My doctor and I were ready for the worst, but God gave an amazing answer to prayer!
My immune system – specific white cells needed for my immune system – had to be high enough to handle the harsh chemo that targets both white and red cells and kills them more thoroughly than the last chemo did. In my third chemo session, I only qualified for 3/4 dose because my immune system was not high enough. The minimum qualification for full dose is a count of 1500. I was only at 1200. But with with the lesser dose of chemo that was given to me at my 4th chemo session, I came up to the count of 1900, still below “normal” but the best I had seen since I started chemo.
So when my blood was tested this morning, I was at 8000 a count that is far above “normal”! One of the nurses was very worried that the high count could mean an infection, but after a thorough check, it was attributed to the 3 doses of steroids that I was required to take to prepare me for the allergic reaction that can happen with this chemo.
Miracle #1 was a huge boost to my immune system! No one expected that high of a boost!
In the chemo ward today, two women had a reaction to the same chemo I was given. One woman’s abdomen was so swollen and painful from the medication, that the doctor stopped the infusion. The other woman got ill from the chemo and they had to give her medication to handle the reaction. She did make it through, but she didn’t look well.
My doctor was sure that I would have an allergic reaction because of my history of sensitivity to other medications he has given me, but I had no symptoms at all! A nurse sat with me during the typical reaction period to make sure that I would not stop breathing. Praise God for His mercy and all the people praying for me, I made it through without a single reaction! No nausea, no rash, no spasms in my lungs, or windpipe to stop my breathing, no swelling and no headaches or sickness. It took an hour and a half to complete the infusion, and I was ready to go home.
There was one glitch with the dome implanted in my chest. The nurses were not successful in pulling blood out to prove that the needle had successfully accessed the vein attached to the dome. As a result of this I was required to have a chest xray to assure them the needle was correctly placed within the dome. It was correctly placed, but I will have to go back to the chemo unit next week to get the dome scrubbed of any clots and other plaque that had built up and prevented the dome from working correctly. That is a minor matter compared to the ease of acceptance of the chemo with no reaction!
We left the hospital about 4 pm having spent the entire day from 7:30 am getting blood tests and then back again at 10:00 to wait for the results and have a consultation with my doctor. He went over the risks and dire consequences again with me, but also assured me that this was a strong fight against the cancer cells that had not been killed by the first chemo drugs. Waiting and more waiting and then the chemo was prepared and a chair readied for me to accept the poisonous brew that would work terror on the leftover cancerous cells.
I have now passed the first test and came out with flying colors. This was chemo #5 out of 8, more than half way there! We wait now to find out what damage the chemo will have done to my liver and other organs, as well as my white cells and red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body so loss of these cells can make it hard to breathe and may require a blood transfusion. My doctor warned me that if I come down with any infection because of a low white cell count, I will be immediately hospitalized and it will he a very serious situation. I must stay away from people who have any kind of illness and keep my hands washed and disinfected.
I must also take the expensive shots to boost my immune system that were a problem for me on the first chemo session when my white cell count went dangerously low just before I was scheduled for surgery to have my dome installed. These shots originally gave me intense lower back pain in my spine, and raised my liver enzymes to triple the normal count so I am still not out of the woods yet, but I am basking in the miracles that I saw today and grateful to have made it out with my life. We are still going for the cure, but trusting God with one step at a time.
Thank you dear family and friends for praying for me! Your petitions on my behalf have been answered with two miracles that were above and beyond what was expected by my health care professionals. I cannot thank God enough for his love and care in keeping me alive. I truly did not know for sure whether I would make it through. I knew all the risks and they were huge. I can now take the next step with a greater confidence that I can make it past the next hurdle. The next 3 weeks are crucial. Within 3 weeks I will know where I stand and the challenges I will face from internal damage. This chemo kills cancer cells, but it also does not discriminate against healthy cells and organs. Please keep me in your prayers.