I was all prepared for Round 3 of Chemo. Prepared? No, steeled for it, braced for it last Monday. I go for a blood draw every Monday morning to check my White Blood Cell count, red blood cells… Well. I started with WBC at 3000 – normal. Then the next week it dropped a little. A little more then next and by Round 2 – it was at 1300. 1500 is the low point of normal and 1000 means that the immune system is too compromised to continue chemo. So, Monday morning Round 2 – at 1300, I was borderline and we decided to go forward anyway. I had a really rough chemo that round, but my numbers still stayed at 1300 the next week. I have 1 week on, 2 weeks off. The 2nd week off my numbers shot up to 2400 and I was thrilled. So, it was a no brainer that going into Chemo Round 3, I’d be fine. But… no. Apparently I was all dressed up and no place to go.
My numbers were at 1000. That meant I was “Neutrapenic” – immune compromised. Don’t be around sick people, don’t be in big crowds, wear a mask sort of thing – and a delay in chemo because if I got an infection I would have trouble fighting it off.
I never thought I would be disappointed to delay chemo – but I was. I was quietly devastated. Just bowed my head and cried. I thought – Oh, I did this. I pushed too much the week before. See on the good weeks, I try to make up for the sick weeks. But I needed a paradigm shift. The good weeks are for resting and recuperating. That is my lesson. My one of a million lessons. I have been focused on taking care of myself, but also, teaching, consulting, parenting, writing, recording, planning to launch our song… all good things. I have focused on living (normally a good thing), but clearly I need to focus more on resting (never my strong suit). So, after a good cry, and a big brother’s shoulder to mop up the tears, and a swift nudge from him – I head out.
To a cabin in the woods. For 3 days. Gilchrist Retreat Center in Three Rivers, Michigan, where I’ve been going to reconnect, rest, write, meditate for 12 years. It’s been my sanctuary each year. And for 3 days I slept. I journaled by a fire. I read. I walked. And I listened. And I came back stronger and refreshed.
Coming soon – a series of pieces from “In a cabin in the woods: lessons learned
But for now, here I am – just finishing Round 3 of chemo will my count at 1400. Off to rest. Okay, you got me! And watch Downton Abbey…
Love, love, love you.
You may be as stubborn as I am. But I’m learning from you, friend.
Take care of precious you,
Thanks, Yvonne! Yes, pretty stubborn. It’s just so weird. All the doctors agree that movement keeps cancer at bay, and that I should move, especially when I’m feeling fatigued. BUT, or BUTT, (sorry about that) the healing comes during the rest. So… go figure. Pacing is not my strong suit. At least it’s raining and that makes the couch call me! love you!
I think that if you have to wear a mask again, you should decorate it. Perhaps some big red “hot lips”? A mustache with curly ends? Jaggedy teeth? The possibilities of “dressing up” a facemask could be endless! I hope you continue to rest and let others take care of you for a change!
Learning to rest is hard! So many of us are overachievers and just swept up in the joy of the creative process and the intensity of teaching and performance. Slowing down just doesn’t seem right. But there is nothing more important once the body has big healing to do and it becomes the first priority. Thank you for sharing. Your learning is a good reminder hat my brain, muscles, nerves, and emotions would really appreciate me doing more resting.
Sending all good thoughts for your progress through the chemo while still focusing on living and creating.