Monday, 19 July 2010

You don't know what you have until it's gone...

I can't believe it has been a well over a month since my last blog!

The growing gap between the updates are not because I do not have anything to report, they are in fact due to the complete opposite. I have been so incredible busy I have been kept away from my laptop.

Since my sleepover at the hospital the medical team have been concerned at how low my Neutrophils have become. Don't worry I am not going to turn all scientific on you! Basically, your Neurtophils are a type of white blood cell and are an essential part of the immune system which provide us all with an immediate defense against infection. Another amazing element to the human form I didn't appreciate!

We have always been aware the white blood cells would become affected by the Chemotherapy as it kills off most healthy and hopefully all cancerous cell but we did not expect it to be to this degree.

The stated range for normal neutrophils in a healthy individual are up to 7.5. For an individual undergoing treatment for cancer the normal count is round 2.5, which is a significant drop and leaves the patient susceptible to infections and other illness. Mine on the other hand have taken a total annihilation and are fluctuating between 0.1-0.3. Effectively, I have no immune system.

This has of course left me hugely vulnerable. Take outs are a distant memory as I can not eat anything that is not freshly prepared, nor can I use a train, be in crowded places inside, touch doors, escalator hand rails etc...I literally look mental when I am out as I avoid all contact with everything and anything in close vicinity. On the odd occasion I get thrown a dirty look by busy old bags as I use my foot to open doors. Antibacterial gel is my life!

Easily the hardest thing has been not being able to return to work on a part time basis because the air conditioning is continually blowing around all sorts of germs and unwanted nastiness. I can't imagine my colleagues agreeing to work in a sweat shop just so I can feel slightly in touch with normality for a few hours a week.

The concerns have been increasing so I met with the highest Consultant who has gone against protocol and prescribed daily injections. Without these they would have to look at stopping treatment until my body can recuperate, something no-one wants. The injections are called GcsF injections which provide me with a hormone the body should naturally produce, however due to my inadequate immune system this hormone is not present.

So, now as well as rattling after I take the 10 different types of medication I am also a human pin cushion. I have to self inject each morning for three days after Chemo. The sight of a needle used to turn me green but yet again I have had to adapt. I also have no other choice as mum has turned into the injection fairy and kindly wakes me up with a knock on the door and a wave of needle wand :)

x KJ x

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