Persistence, Tenacity, and New Blood
This cancer journey reminds me of some aspects of our Going East bike trip – particularly during those times when persistence and tenacity are what you need to make it over that one last hill. I always thought this picture from our trip made a great motivational photo (Scott pushes the loaded recumbent bike up the mountain – you can see the sweat on his back – unfortunately the picture does not do the steepness of the hill justice). The locals thought we were crazy trying to bike over this mountain pass – but we were both persistent and tenacious and we made it!
Perhaps this is a better persistence picture (also in northern Thailand):
My point here, is this is how I feel when I’m feeling fatigued. I feel like the entire road is uphill. And although these pictures show a struggle, they also bring a smile to my face. They remind me of challenges that I have overcome. They provide me with that little extra reminder, that yes, I can do this.
Yesterday, I had my first transfusion. The AC chemo was knocking out my red blood cells (RBC), and they were not being given enough of a chance to bounce back between rounds. Folks have asked about drugs to help with RBC. Apparently the drugs take a long time (6-8 weeks) to boost production, and the side effects can be worse than the side effects of a transfusion. Given the more immediate need for a boost now, it made sense. And so, I had my AC chemo on Monday and a transfusion of two units of RBC on Tuesday. I cannot say I immediately feel better – but then the AC chemo knocks me down for a few days, so it is hard to say. What I can say is that I have more colour – my cheeks are pinker and my lips have natural colour again. I had not really realized how pale I was before the transfusion.
Unfortunately, my phone doesn’t take very good photos.
We were also serenaded by the harp during treatment, which was nice. Apparently, med students who are also musicians volunteer to play in the cancer center. This is the first time we’ve seen the harpist directly in the infusion treatment area.
The volunteers at the hospital make the nice head scarfs/hats. I discovered that it works well when the tie is on the side – kinda makes me think I should learn to read tarot cards.
So, now I have some new blood. I am still feeling some fatigue, but hopefully in the next day or two I’ll bounce back :-).