Today I had an appointment to return to the chemo infusion room. I was not happy about that. Just being in the waiting room is depressing enough with all of the patients with masks on and walkers and wheel chairs. The people back in the chemo room are all snoring or coughing, shuffling around with their IV poles or sleeping, and they all look SICK. (My mother is 66 years old and even she said she feels like a kid in the chemo room!) Even when I was going through chemo I never felt like I belonged there, and now that I'm a year out from chemo, I sure ask heck don't belong there!
Tell that to my body, though. At my appointment with Dr. H last week (3 month check up), my blood work was not very cooperative. My white blood cells have stayed relatively steady (low, but steady) since I finished chemo. My red blood cells and hemoglobin were low during chemo, but had slowly started to come back up. Before my reconstruction surgery in November, my hemoglobin was 12, which is the "normal" number for a woman my age. The day after surgery it was 8.1, which is where it is now - still - five weeks after surgery.
Dr H is concerned that I have unexplained bleeding from somewhere, or a bone marrow disorder that's preventing my body from replenishing the blood cells it needs. In my opinion, obviously the surgery can be blamed for the big drop in hemoglobin. I was under anesthesia for almost nine hours and I had four different surgical sites... I'm sure I lost quite a bit of blood. What we can't figure out is why my counts aren't coming back up, even a little bit. I've been sick for the last two weeks with respiratory crap, so I'm sure that's not helping.
The easiest (and least scary) explanation would be an iron deficiency - hence the trip to the chemo room. Dr H ordered an IV iron infusion in hopes of jump-starting my blood cell manufacturing. I waited almost an hour, and then the infusion took a little over an hour. Since I had my port removed during my last surgery, they had to give me an IV this time. She put it in at the side of my wrist (ouch) which was uncomfortable, and the IV itself burned. I could feel it going up through my arm the entire time. Have you ever seen an iron IV? It looks like motor oil. Lovely.
I've certainly been through worse things, and since I haven't been able to bounce back completely on my own, maybe it will help get my system going. I'm just sick of being sick. Being severely anemic is no fun. I'm SO exhausted. Just doing the dishes takes my breath away (and not in a good way!). I don't want blood draws or check-ups. I don't want surgery or infusions. I know it's nothing compared to what I have gone through already, but I'm tired of it all, and I just want to be ME.
(And not the new, grouchy, biting everyone's head off and complaining all the time me that has taken over my body. I want to be sweet, caring, thoughtful, patient me.)
One more thing - speaking of the infusion room.... while I wasn't thrilled with having to go back there, an iron infusion was a pretty minor thing to be there for. The whole time I kept thinking of my friend Lyn. She's one of my KCA crew and she's undergoing chemotherapy for the second time in two years because they found cancer in the fluid around her lungs. Please pray for her. She's a spunky antique store owner biker chick who needs help kicking cancer's ass a second time.