Green Light

Got the green light today to go ahead with chemo again.  Yay!

My white blood cell count needed to be around 2,000 and it was 2,500.  Apparently a “normal” person’s WBC count is usually in the range of 5,000 – 10,000.  Last week my count was 1,200.

Understandably, I’ve now become slightly obsessed with raising my white blood count. :-)  If anyone has any tips on how to do that please let me know.  I’m already exercising practically every day and eating healthy (veggies, fruits, beans, whole grains, green tea, healthy fats).  What else can I do???

So tomorrow is chemo day – round 4.  And even after a month of this I still get nervous every week.  What I’m nervous about is not entirely clear.  Maybe I’m afraid of something going wrong?  Afraid of a bad reaction?  Feeling pain?  Afraid of the unknown?  I don’t know…  Life is just really one unknown after another.  Guess that’s why so many of us spend so much time in fear.

I guess the best thing I can do is try to process and understand what i’m feeling (hello therapy!!) and then just come back to the present moment.  Root myself in the here & now.  The task at hand.  And not get caught up in the stinkin’ thinking about the ifs, buts, and coulds of life.

Tomorrow I’m also switching from Taxol to Taxotere.  Hoping my body will react better to the Taxotere because the last few weeks the Taxol has been messin’ with me.  Right when it first goes in, the Taxol burns through me and suffocates me.  Not a good feeling.  I’ve heard this is a pretty common reaction to Taxol and that when this happens, a switch to Taxotere is usually suggested.

In other news…  My hair is officially falling out (or shall I say “thinning out”)…  Not sure how long it’ll take before it’s too thin for me to justify keeping it…  Pondering on getting a super cute blond pixie cut wig to try out.  It’s the style i’ve always wanted to get but never had the balls to commit to.

And…  Round 4 of the family & friends brigade has arrived – Auntie M.  And she is spoiling Miss M rotten!!!  But of course Miss M loves every moment of it.  And it’s great to watch.  It’s so amazing have this much love around to bouy us and keep us afloat.  Making sure Miss M gets through all this relatively unscathed is so important to me and I cannot do it alone.

So big shout-outs and THANKS to my amazing family & friends brigade!  And to all the other beautiful people out there supporting me in this journey.  The things you do are not going unnoticed.

With love to all.  – T

18 Responses

  1. Hi Terri Luanna!

    Reading your eloquent and articulate blog and thinking of you. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you, but Sheilagh and I are sending you all possible good vibes from not-so-frosty Nova Scotia!

    You’re getting an object-lesson in how life sometimes serves up the unexpected. Ultimately, you just have to roll (with grace!) with the punches, learn what you can from the experiences, share what you’ve learned, take pleasure from all the great things in life, shed some tears when they need to come out, and laugh at the whole crazy, unpredictable, absurd, mad, happy, beautiful, nutty experience that is each and every one of us. And I can tell from your blog that you’re well on the way to doing just that! :~>

    Lots of love to you … from us!

    Chris & Sheilagh

  2. Terri,
    I salute you for sharing your chemo experience with us, even the unpleasant parts. I really believe sharing pain diminishes it, so by telling all of us the unpleasant stuff you enable us to try and take at least some of it from you. Thanks.

    Farewell to sister Laurie. And buckets of love to sister Mary. I’m not surprised Marisa adores her, and I know she’ll be a huge help to you.

    You’re going to be one of those people who looks terrific with a shaved head. I’ve hung around enough Buddhists to say that with certainty.

  3. Astragalus tincture 3 times a day will keep those WBC’s up and side-effects reduced. Medicinal mushrooms too! Hope u got them…
    Love & hugs, LM~

  4. Hi T,
    My name is Wendy and I’m a high school friend of Jamie O’Neil and I’m an oncology nurse…you truly are a beautiful and amazing warrior. Just a thought for you…not much more you can do to raise your WBC count than what you are doing…your healthy diet will keep your immune system working at it’s prime, exercise will help circulate what cells you do have, quality rest will help, and sometimes they will order a medicine called neupogen or neulasta to stimulate your bone marrow to produce WBC’s…Good luck and big hugs

  5. I wish you the best of luck and will always keep you and your family in my prayers. I am a cancer survivor, 11 years this March. It can be beat! Stay strong and keep your eye on the prize.

  6. Yay- good news for the chemo -welld one u for raising that count.
    Here are some tips that may be worth trying- however u could before a walking supplement!:
    *Oleander extract in herbal supplement form. One herbal oleander based supplement was 100% effective in a clinical trial of raising white blood cell counts in HIV/AIDS patients with extremely compromised immune systems.
    *Astragalus root helps stimulate white blood cells and protects against invading organisms. It also enhances production of the important natural compound interferon to fight against viruses.
    *Zinc is necessary for white blood cell function and it acts as a catalyst in the immune system’s killer response to foreign bodies.
    *Vitamin C is an immune enhancer that helps white blood cells perform at their peak and quickens the immune system response.
    *The trace mineral selenium is vital to the development and movement of white blood cells.
    *Both Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) and Asian ginseng provide support for the immune system.
    *Echinacea helps stimulate the immune system in a variety of ways, including increased white blood cell production.
    *Green Tea also stimulates production of white blood cells.
    *As well as the healthy diet, exercise and relaxation of course
    I say go for the wig – try it out- bet it will look super cute!
    xxx

  7. Terri, I’m told that the Greek Yogurt is a white blood cell friend, and have at least 1 Chobani each day – sometimes 2 (love the pineapple)!

    Of all the factors that you mentioned, fear of the unknown was the worst demon for me. I’ve managed to work through it by keeping a “question journal” and sharing it with the nurses, who at my Cancer center in New Haven, are also all survivors.

    Today (tuesday) is my final radiation session! Ironic, because it’s also the 21st anniversary of my father’s death from renal cell carcinoma. I feel that he’s been shepherding me all throughout the process and sending me his strength and positivity.

    Oh yes – my New Years’ Resolution – no more woulda, shoulda, coulda.

    Be well,

    Chris

  8. Amazing advice Michelle and Chris. Terri, when we researched boosting your white blood cells, many of Michelle’s suggestions were mentioned in the Livstrong articles. Worth heading to that health food store and stocking up. Maybe on your Friday adventure with Auntie Maria??
    Your writing, questioning and sharing are all amazing vehicles for processing your fear. Processing being the operative word. Then all we can do is bring it back to the here and now, one day at a time. Your strength and wisdom continue to astound me.
    Deep love and gratitude to you my amazing niece…

  9. Rooting yourself in the moment…you’re right, that’s the key. So difficult to do, but so necessary. I say yes to the wig! And I can’t wait for my turn next week, to spoil Miss M to my hearts content.
    Love ya….will be thinking of you today (and every day)
    xoxox

  10. I’m a friend of Dori, sending you positive vibes & prayers. You’d be surprised @ what a positive attitude can accomplish, my Mom survived the same condition with similar treatment some 35 years ago

  11. Terri-
    I have a friend in Miami who works for a supplement company, who has offered to send many of the samples mentioned above. She will mail them out tonight. Thank you, Serena!! xoxo

  12. Dear Terri-Luanna,

    I’ve been reading your articulate and thoughtful blog and applaud your for your courage and sensitivity. It’s been a long while since we’ve crossed paths, but Sheilagh and I are sending you every good vibe from sometimes frosty Halifax.

    You’re getting an object lesson on how life sometimes delivers the unexpected. In the end, the only thing to do is to roll (with grace!) with the punches, learn from the experience, share what you’ve learned, share some tears (when required), and laugh at the whole remarkable, crazy, beautiful, tragic, unrepeatable, and magical experience that is every one of us. It sometimes hurts like hell, but its sure not worth missing. :~> From reading your blog I can see you’re well along the path to mastering all of this – and teaching yourself and all of us some valuable lessons along the way. Go for it!

    We’re thinking of you here as the sun rises over the snow and the garden sleeps, waiting to wake again in the eternal rebirth of spring.

    Lots of love!

    Chris & Sheilagh

  13. Very happy to hear the white cells are on their way back up, and that you’re up for the next round. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers — and sending strength for tomorrow’s (or rather today’s, I guess) fourth round against the cancer cells. You clobber ’em — and the rest of us will kick them out of existence once they’re down.

    Much love to you and your whole family,

    John

  14. Terri,
    All of the suggestions that people have offered are wonderful but with that being said, if you plan to use any of them, please mention them to your doctor to make sure nothing interfers with effectiveness of that “wonderful” chemo.

    On another note, you were part of the topic of conversation at lunch today with my co-workers; all agree, you are truely amazing! What you and your family are going through and sharing here helps others in so many different ways.

    Oh and yes, I bet you’ll be beautiful bald or as a blond!

    Rest up…..

  15. Hi Terri!

    I admire your strength, vitality and complete honest. Keep it up!

    Oh and I’ve been doing some acupuncture recently and found that it helps me on many levels. You can do some research and find out if it works for you. Also stop using your microwave. There have been several scientific studies about the harmful effects of it including carcinogenic: http://www.health-science.com/microwave_hazards.html

    And also Aloe Vera is another daily routine that could help

    Besides soothing skin and aiding in repairing the digestive system Aloe Vera has been linked to a large number of remedies. Studies have found it beneficial in boosting the immune systems of patients suffering from cancer and Aids. It has also linked to helping with foot fungus as well as stopping hair loss. While many of these benefits have yet to proven on a scientific level, it is clear that we have just begun to scratch the surface on everything this plant is capable of.

    Big warm hug,

    Christina

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