Thanks Kendrick, for the title inspo ;). Today marked treatment 3 of 4 for this first section of my chemo regimen. Its hard to believe we’ve already been at this 5 whole weeks. Time is flying by faster than I thought it would, even given the fact that I’m not working and have lots of free time to fill. I guess the timing of everything being summer has helped a lot.
First a quick update on how everything is going. It’s a little “medical” so if you’re not into that, skip down a couple paragraphs. 🙂
Today I was told I’m essentially an A+ cancer patient. My numbers have bounced completely back to normal and I’m handling everything so well. Happy to hear those words, and thankful to have a strong body able to move me through these weeks.
Additionally, I have check-ins with my oncologist during my off weeks, so I had one last week. During these appointments we check my levels for a million different things, but most importantly my white and red blood cell counts and my absolute neutrophil count. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that help the body fight infection. The lower the count, the higher the risk of infection (meaning I stay home and avoid anything that could make me sick.) The average neutrophil count of a healthy individual is approximately 2 – 8. To understand truly how susceptible I am to infection when I’m “low” – my neutrophil count was at .43. This is number actually better than after my first treatment, when I was at .10. Guys, when I said it was like I had the immune system of a newborn, I wasn’t kidding.
The other numbers showed us that overall, my body was reacting to the chemo better during the 2nd round. I had higher counts for pretty much all of the important factors and we all agreed that was pretty awesome.
In addition to that, my oncologist does an physical exam of the tumor – or I should say… lack there of in my case. Yes, you read that right. My tumor is SHRINKING, so much so, that we can no longer feel it!! I almost cried tears of joy right there in the exam room. I had been feeling around for it a lot over the past week and thought maybe I was going crazy because I couldn’t find it so the verification was amazing to hear. The chemo is working!
Overall, I would say that my second round was easier than the first. Out of the 14 days, really only 3 of those days were truly hard for me. I don’t have many physical symptoms at all, with the worst of it being the exhaustion, which hits me like a truck around day 5-6. This round was more emotional for me, due to my hair loss/shaving/becoming a total alien-status bald person. (I have a whole post in draft mode about that journey so stay tuned.) I’ve also been really missing my dad a lot the past few weeks – maybe it’s the start of summer or maybe it’s all just finally setting in, but I really wish he was here to help get me through the tough days. I know he’s watching out for me and gives me the strength when I’m really at my lowest. ❤
Now, on to the actual title of this post. During my very first appointment with my oncologist, her nurse was walking me through what I imagine they do with all new and very terrified patients. The basics… how to handle daily stress, advice for coping skills, encouragement etc. She said one thing that stuck with me – it was to always remember to be humble. I don’t know why it struck me as a weird piece of advice, maybe because it was a bit different than all of the other things I’d been hearing. But boy, was she accurate.
These past 5 weeks have showed me the absolutely astounding power of my support net. It reaches into every deep corner of my life in a way that blows. me. away. In a world that can be rude, inconsiderate and downright scary at times – there are a LOT of very amazing people doing good things every single day.
Everyone always asks how I stay so positive. The very easy answer is: it’s because of the people that surround me, my family, people in my daily life, in my community, in the messages on social media, in my weekly yoga classes, and even perfect strangers on Instagram who live across the country that have become my new “breast friends”. (I know that term is cheesy but I absolutely love it.)
To say that I am humbled is an understatement and my nurse hit the nail right on the head. As the time ticks by and the weeks of treatment pass I will always carry that with me. I will accept the gracious gifts people send, the weekly deliveries of yummy food, and the huge number of prayers that are being said in my name. It keeps me going and gives me faith that I will beat this thing and come out better on the other side. So I guess I just wanted to say thank you for helping me through this in every way.
5 weeks down, 17 left.