Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I've made it my routine to have blood taken at the clinic the day before I'm supposed to go in for chemo. That way, I know whether or not I'm ready for it a day in advance. I learned my lesson when I showed up for cycle number two, all ready to go, only to be told to go home because my blood levels hadn't recovered well enough to blast them again.

Having blood taken ahead of time also eliminates hours of waiting on the day of chemo, so I can just show up and get started.

Today was one of those clinic days. And while this past cycle hasn't been the best, it certainly hasn't been the worst, either, I don't think, though the past few months seem to blend into one big mess in my mind. I've been pretty tired, and I know my red blood cell count is low, so that's the reason why, but I had blood taken at the end of last week and I was told my counts were acceptable. So the only way I wouldn't be ready for chemo tomorrow is if my blood counts have gotten worse since they were last checked. It's possible, and not uncommon, just not what I expected.

Apparently, that's what happened because I got a call a few hours after leaving the clinic to tell me that I'm not ready for chemo tomorrow. I have to go back to the clinic and try again in a few days.

I'm not sure why, but that phone call really bothered me. It's the first time since that second round of chemo that my body hasn't recovered in time for the next scheduled round. And while the doctor says it's not a big deal, that it won't change anything or throw us off schedule, or most importantly affect my chances at beating this in any way, it still disappoints me. It's not that I get some bizarre enjoyment out of chemo, that's obvious, but I guess I just took some pride in always being strong again in time for the next beating. Kind of like the way guys in the movies, when they're being tortured, act as if they're unphased by it and keep on asking for more. I've been going at it every two weeks, which is a really fast clip, and the doctors warned me that we would eventually need to stretch it out. It's just not realistic to expect my body to be ready every time with so little time to heal. Still, I thought I could do it.

This next round is number seven. I'm scheduled for fourteen, so it marks a pretty significant milestone. I was looking forward to being done with it. Still, the bottom line is that it's not a big deal that I have to wait. I have to be patient with myself, just the way I have to be patient with this entire process. I know my body will recover, it's just a matter of a few days. I should enjoy these extra days of feeling better than I will after chemo, or during chemo, which is where I would be if I hadn't been given this extra time.

I get a few extra nights in my own bed before I have to sleep in the hospital. That's really the way I should be looking at it.

Once again, I'll learn to be patient and to curtail my expectations, because things never seem to work out the way I expect them to. I'm not saying I won't set my goals high, and I'll continue to shoot for the stars, but even when I'm anticipating the pits, my plans are subject to change.

Always expect to be surprised, I guess, because if you don't, you're bound to be surprised.


  1. It's always disappointing to not meet expectations no matter how unrealistic you know they might be. It's impressive enough that you've been making such speedy recoveries 'til this one!

  2. I had always been such a good student, but since getting cancer, I have never "failed" so many tests in my life. As that douchebag principal says in "The Breakfast Club" -- "I expected more from a varsity letterman."

    I know we shouldn't be so hard on ourselves, but man, could we have used a decent curve or what? Unbelievable.