This was supposed to be week of peacefully laying low while we wait for the results of my cancer re-staging. However, once again we find ourselves in the middle of a medical crisis, the fourth such problem since I’ve been home.
About five weeks ago, for reasons we still don’t know, my bone marrow just stopped making red blood cells. I became quite anemic and had to have two units of blood just to function. That helped, but since then I’ve been quite anemic, which greatly constrains me and makes it very hard to exercise to recover or even to function.
Yesterday, with a routine blood test to follow the anemia, has discovered that the anemia is a little worse, my kidney function is a worse (after improvement last week), but the new crisis is that my bone marrow seems now to have stopped making white blood cells. My absolute absolute neutrophil count (one of the best measurements of white blood cells) has dropped from 2400 two weeks ago, to just 200 yesterday. This is considered an extreme low count and very dangerous.
The great frustration is that neither the dropping red blood cells nor the dropping white blood cells are a typical complication of a stem cell transplant. We don’t know why this is happening to me. While the low red blood cells greatly influence my quality of life this sudden and severe drop in white blood cells makes me very vulnerable to overwhelming and potentially fatal infections. To complicate matters, my hematologist is leaving town for ten days after tomorrow. We did do a bone marrow biopsy yesterday, which may shed some light on the why but I may not know the results for two weeks, if I don’t get into serious infectious problems by then.
There are days, like today, where I feel it must not be my destiny to survive this cancer. I have worked so hard, only to have my efforts erased by unforeseen and even bizarre complications. I do want to live. I want to keep fighting but sometimes you become so mentally fatigued that you just want to give up. Denise and I both need some kind of break in this nightmare that never seems to end.
Please pray that these cells would be produced again and that this problem will be solved.