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…