Thursday, January 29, 2015

Low Blood Counts... Again

Rudy didn't pass today's blood test.  White blood cells, absolute neutrophil count, platelets...  all low, not horribly low, but low enough to stop chemo.  He's anemic, which explains why he's been so chilly lately. He couldn't have his chemo and he's quarantined again.  Darnit.  He was just starting to go places and see people again.  But everything else looks good.

The Lab Technician
Looked Suspicious

We met with the nutritionist (Maureen) and naturopath (Anya) and advanced practitioner (Terri).  All of them had advice for things to do to try to encourage better counts.  Anya tweaked his supplements and one thing she added is a maitake mushroom tincture.  Rudy doesn't like mushrooms, but he's sure getting plenty of them through his supplements right now.

He'll be re-tested next week and will hopefully be able to have chemo towards the end of next week.  

Low blood counts are one of the common side effects of chemo.  Chemo targets all rapidly producing cells.  There are other cells in your body that reproduce rapidly besides cancer - like hair, gastro, and bone marrow.  The chemo is really going after Rudy's bone marrow and that's messing with his blood counts.

Chemo is not a one size fits all.  They start at a point that is fine for about 50% of patients and then they make adjustments as needed.  Rudy's chemo has been tweaked and it will still be tweaked more as needed.

The also are taking a look at his blood to see if he's a candidate for Tarceva.  It's a targeted therapy and is low on side effects.  We haven't heard about that one, but if Rudy is a good fit for it, I'm sure we'll find out.

Again, we are always amazed at how happy we are at CTCA.  Everyone is so nice and so HAPPY.  Maureen and Anya were cracking us up today.  Maureen calls Rudy "Uncle Rudy".  Terri is wonderful, too - a happy bundle of energy.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not all fun and games with Dr. Thompson's team.  They are ALL smart as can be and they take what they do very seriously.  They're hard working, but they know how to keep it light and make the patients feel good.  We feel so attached to them all.  They're great huggers and as Rudy says, those hugs are all genuine.

I used to see the commercials on TV about CTCA and think they were probably a bit puffed up.  Now, I think the commercials don't do them justice.  CTCA is the most amazing place.