Before I get too excited about life and progress, I’d like to say that this experience has been a roller coaster. There are highs and lows and those spaces of ease where things are just moving along on a coast. Over the last few weeks, it’s been a mix of the above, but there “appears” to be a positive trend amongst the recent levels of my white blood cells (WBCs), and particularly with my Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC). Now, to make this silly clinical language make sense, I thought it would be helpful to provide a little bit of explanation of what these things are and mean:
-White blood cells (WBCs), as a whole are the body’s own version of emergency response, act like mobile units that travel through the bloodstream to an area of infection to destroy the offending bacteria. There are five types of white blood cells: neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes.
-Absolute neutrophil count (ANC), also called AGC (Absolute granulocyte count): measures the number of infection fighting white blood cells in your blood. Neutrophils make up the largest portion of white blood cells, at about 56% and are the main infection fighters, working to eat up the bacteria in our body.
While it has been a dance of two steps forward and one step back for a bit, it is nice to see that over the last couple weeks we can say that there has been a positive trend. I’ve had to restart on steroids to help calm down an awful rash/hive situation, but that has greatly improved and we’re now restarting the taper down dosage. And while I’m still having to get regular platelets and RBC transfusions (including today) and the rhyme or reason of when is at the mercy of my numbers, my hematologist says that those cells tend to be slower to join the party, so I'm ok with waiting them out...I just like to think that they're wanting to be fashionably late!
So in-line with tempering my impatience and not going ahead with booking my flight to Hawaii, I am focusing on doing my best to keep this trend moving in the right direction and continuing to stay on top of my laundry list of precautions. As frustrating as it is to be unable to go places, do things, or eat a gosh-darn raw salad, I’ll get there and be in a better state of health than if I rushed around to do it now. No contraband salad is worth that risk. Relax, rest, and letting my body dictate how the day will go may make me feel foolish (only my ego) but prove to fuel the healing process. I will continue to go and be myself after all of this is through, but I know that I will have a much greater sense of appreciation for how quickly things can change. To not designate my life to strict timelines and to meet challenges with curiosity, as lessons from which to continually grow and adapt.