This morning I went to hospital to see my consultant for blood test results. I was expecting to get the go ahead to start my second chemotherapy cycle on Wednesday. My white blood cells (neutrophils) had other ideas. For treatment to continue as scheduled, they needed to be above 1,000 per millilitre (2,000+ is considered normal). Unfortunately my count was only 610, indicating neutropenia (*).
This means that my second cycle of chemotherapy has been put on hold for a week. Rats. However, everything else seems all right and my consultant was impressed that my lymph nodes have shrunk considerably.
I’ve been given a course of three G-CSF injections – a blood cell growth factor – to help the count recover. I gave myself the first injection under nurse supervision while I was at the hospital. It was much more straightforward than I feared (you ought to have seen my face when the consultant told me they were self-administered). You simply pinch some stomach fat (I have plenty), stick a very small needle into it and gently squeeze the syringe plunger until it clicks. It didn’t hurt at all thank goodness.
I’m now also the proud owner of my very own sharps bin to go with my ever-growing pill collection.
(*) The Lymphoma Association provides an excellent explanation of neutropenia and the risk of infection on their website.