Chemo was cancelled today.
My blood counts, which were low on Monday, hadn’t recovered enough for treatment today. But they had gone up, and I thought they were in the safe zone, so after I left the chemo waiting room, I went to talk to the nurse who works with Dr. M. I started crying when I saw her and asked why chemo was cancelled if my blood counts had gone up*. She said she would call my oncologist and talk to her about it. When she came back, she told me that my counts weren’t as high as Dr. M. wanted to see, but that she (meaning Dr. M.) would see me at her fourth floor clinic if I wanted to talk to her about it.
The nurse suggested I ask Dr. M. about putting me on Neupogen after my next chemo to try to prevent further delays — Neupogen is an astronomically expensive injectable that stimulates the growth of neutrophils, the type of white blood cell most responsible for immune function (or something like that) — and since it was a drug I had to go on the last time I went through chemo, I decided to visit Dr. M. in her clinic so I could request a prescription. I know my body and how it responds to chemo, and I know that more delays in treatment are inevitable if I don’t get on this drug after my next treatment.
I had to talk to another nurse — my third — about my treatment delay (and how frustrating I found it) before I saw Dr. M. By the time she came in the room to talk to me, I was upset and annoyed and pissed off. She told me she was worried about how I was reacting to the delay; that it happens to lots of people and that other people don’t get as upset as I was. But this isn’t my first treatment delay. Sure, it’s the first one due to chemo, but I already delayed the start of chemo because of post-surgical infections, and then the second treatment because of the second surgery, and then the third treatment — the only one to happen on schedule — knocks my blood counts so low that I’m off schedule again. Of course, I’m frustrated. I’ve been dealing with this for almost a year, it will have been over a year by the time it’s all over, I’ve organized my entire week around this treatment and now have to do that again next week, and I psychologically prepared myself for treatment today and I really just want things to, I don’t know, go right for once, so forgive me if I’m a little frustrated and upset. I’m handling this whole situation pretty gracefully about 95% of the time; it would be nice to be cut a little slack for the remaining 5% of the time when I need to throw a bit of a fit.
Anyway, rant over. Chemo has been rescheduled for next Thursday, I’ll start injecting myself with Neupogen five days after my treatment, everything is what it is. The silver lining to this cloud was that a) I got to bum around in the sun all day and b) I got to go to the Kris Knight opening at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, where I bought my first piece of art. Or rather, I should say that I will be buying my first piece of art in three installments, the amount of which I won’t mention here. Suffice it to say, I will be living frugally for the next three months. But I’ve wanted a painting by Knight since I first saw this exhibition three or four years ago, and given the crappy year I’ve had, I think I can justify buying myself a piece of art. And you know what? Retail therapy really did improve my mood. And my oncologist wants me to “talk to someone.” I think I am coping quite well, thank you (if committing yourself to spending a large sum of money counts as coping, that is).