We are still adjusting to the new chemo routine. Keith has been on a chemo schedule where he has had to go every week before, but one week was the hard chemo and the next week was lighter. It is taking some adjustment for me to get used to Keith feeling bad every Monday of every week.
Today at the clinic, we learned of another way that we are both having to adjust. Keith's blood counts are lower than we have ever seen. The platelet count is fine. It is at 93. Praise God! Keith's white blood cell count (WBC) is extremely low. There are several different lab results that the docs look at the make up the WBC. One of the levels basically measures how many infection fighting blood cells Keith has. This morning's labs showed he has almost none. Yes, you read that right. His level is 0.6. The normal level ranges from 1.78-5.38. Keith's WBC count as a whole is only 1.5. The normal range is 4.23-9.07. His red blood cell count is also low. As a result of the levels being so low, Keith had to get two shots today. One shot will boost his white blood cell production. The second shot will boost his red blood cell production.
These low blood counts almost suspended Keith's treatment today. The doctor decided to go ahead and give Keith the chemo. I'm hoping that by the time the chemo starts attacking Keith's good blood cells, the shots will have kicked in and Keith will be okay. The hard chemo for next week is on hold for now. We will meet with the doctor on Monday. Things might change, but they are pretty certain that Keith will only get the antibody treatment and have the pump hooked back up next Monday.
Speaking of the pump, Keith made it to today without any mouth sore problems. Praise God! Thank you for covering Keith with prayer during this last week. On Saturday morning, he noticed that there were a couple of tender spots in his mouth that acted like they might become mouth sores. Keith decided to try taking an antacid just on the hunch that the pizza he ate the night before might have been too acidic. That seemed to do the trick. The tender spots weren't tender anymore by that evening. Keith is off of the chemo pump this week. That was already planned. I'm glad that Keith will have a break from it this week, especially since his counts are so low.
Finding out that Keith's counts are as low as they are was startling. Keith became very down when the nurse told us of the doctor's decision. I tried to encourage him. I told him that in the five years we have been doing this, we have never seen how low his counts actually get in the 7-10 day down time. We saw that today. Today's levels may be what Keith's levels have always been at, and we just didn't know it! He asked me later if I was concerned about the levels being so low. I'm not really. I'm more concerned about the effects of his counts being that low. He'll need to wear a mask for the first part of this week at least. I'll watch him to make sure he isn't getting sick. Other than that, I really am not worried. I was surprised, but once I thought it through, I was okay with it. I am okay with it.
Thank you for the prayers last week. Please continue to lift Keith up. He's feeling kind of puny today. Hopefully, he will feel better as the week goes on.
Have a blessed week!