Yesterday was blood work day. Between each chemo treatment, blood is drawn to make sure I'm still functioning reasonably well. I've had so much difficulty breathing over the past week, that we were beginning to get worried. The blood work showed that I've become very anemic. Breathing trouble could be caused by much worse problems, so we were relieved. The oncologist said that if my hematocrit falls any lower I will need a blood transfusion. I've been anemic before, although not like this, and have some ideas how to help this problem. The doctor didn't perscribe any iron supplements - my guess is because I would need so much of them that it would cause very unpleasant side effects. The blood counts should begin rebounding very soon on their own.
My doctor has been so easy-going about the alternative methods of chemo support I've been doing. She takes notes on everything I'm doing and waits to see if it seems to help. She has never once made me feel silly for drinking lettuce juice, or for using any of the other things I'm taking. She seems to be completely supportive. When I suggested I could take some of the supplements I have in the past to help with anemia, she was very agreeable. So we stopped by Whole Foods on the way home and picked up some things which I started taking right away.
I will be having a CT scan or something like it soon, now that the little guy is bigger and developing well. It should help the doctors determine when is the best time to schedule the delivery as well as giving them a better idea of the extent of the cancer. I couldn't have any scans earlier because they put the baby at too much risk.
It looks like I will be having an additional round or two of chemo to prevent going three or four months without any treatment while we wait for the delivery and recovery afterwards. The original plan was to have four rounds of Adriomycin and Cytoxan, then wait for the delivery, then four more rounds of Taxol, then radiation. As I mentioned before, the oncologist is very nervous about waiting for baby and not treating the cancer. She is planning to proceed extra cautiously with additional rounds of Adriomycin and/or Cytoxan. I assume these rounds will include extra testing to make sure I'm not falling apart.
All this info may be like Greek, but maybe it will help to answer some questions about what lies ahead. Several of you have been through this routine and know about the ups and downs of treatment decisions. We appreciate everyone's concern and your prayers.