Not What I Expected

April 06, 2021  •  1 Comment

This post was going to "fly" in a different direction as I noticed a yellow swallowtail butterfly and this black one on the day before Easter and I wanted to talk about the surprise before Easter. This is most likely an Eastern Black Swallowtail, as it has landed on one of our several beds of spring phlox. And I wanted to share how much excitement I felt seeing butterflies before Easter. That is still all true.

But I got an unexpected surprise when I got the results of my white blood count yesterday afternoon. The technician performed a quick finger stick and asked me to wait a few minutes and she would have the results. Soon she appeared with my folder, and said you need to go to the treatment room so the nurse can discuss your results with you. First detour to the exit. Soon, the nurse appeared and said we need to check your vitals, are you coughing, have you had fever. Second detour to the exit. Wait over there, she said, I need to talk with the doctor. Another escape prevented. And before too long, she appeared again. "Your white blood count is 1.3." Way below normal. Last Monday it was 5.6, and the chemotherapy drugs had decimated my immune system. That's probably not medically accurate. But I was stunned. I was prescribed another antibiotic to take daily for a week, and be extra cautious with any person or substance that could infect me. My system would have difficulty fighting infection.

The reality is that's why patients are checked a week after treatment. I'm not the first to have a precipitous drop in WBC, and the staff knows what to do about it. 

But none of this is what I expected. I don't want more isolation. I don't want cancer. But I am surrounded by family and friends and medical experts who know what to do. So take a deep breath. I am held, watched over. This is not what I expected. But the doctor is not surprised. He's done this before. This clearly is not my solitary journey. So I can pay less attention to numbers and more to butterflies.


Comments

Barbara Crede(non-registered)
Thank you John for your blog of thoughts and feelings. They fill my heart. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I laugh, other times I nod in agreement.
We have a little 2 year old friend who has had cancer most of her life. This week she is also posting low numbers. It seems to happen occasionally. So somedays she might be tired or cranky for a while, but most of the time she is "making hay while the sun shines" until her numbers are right and she can continue treatment. She knows no other life to compare this one with.
So, even though you do, I am smiling when I see you "making hay while the sun shines!" Praying you have a good day John!
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