Cancer log 111: Almost…

Cancer log 111: Almost all my labs (red blood cells, white blood cells, and lots of others) have gone into the red zone, which is unnerving to see. The oncologist didn't seemed concerned, although she did say that it was a good thing this was my last chemo, as we were starting to push my body's limits. She said something about my bone marrow throwing off lots of immature cells (I think? not sure I'm remembering right) -- I didn't understand it, but she said it was actually fine, that the bone marrow was working? I dunno. It didn't seem like something I actually needed to understand, so I'm afraid I just let it go. The nurse was concerned that my hemoglobin levels had dropped from 10 to 8.3 in two weeks (normal is 12-16 for women), but said that as long as it was above 3, it was okay, so hopefully there won't be too big a drop between now and my next set of bloodwork. Under 10 is anemic, so that explains the extra fatigue this week, and how *freezing* I was on campus and in the hospital. More leafy greens, liver, and red meat.

The most annoying new side effect has been food-related -- almost everything tastes bad. I am enough a creature of habit that I am still eating normal meals, but I can see why people stop eating much during chemo. Even plain bread tastes bad! So far, the only things that have been reliably reasonably tasty have been foods with vinegar, lemon, lime. So I've made my vinegar-peppercorn beef stew three times in the last month and a half, and I suspect I'll be making one more batch. And we picked up Vietnamese beef pho for dinner tonight, and the broth tasted great. Campbell's chicken-and-stars isn't acidic, but somehow is still okay. But seriously, the menu has gotten very limited around here. I've kind of stalled out on new cookbook recipes, because I can't trust my taste buds; I'll be sending out some older recipes to the cookbook club, to tide them over until I can cook properly again.

At the hospital today, my oncologist and nurse congratulated me on getting to the last chemo. I still have two weeks of side effects to go, so not feeling all that celebratory yet. And after that, it'll be a few more weeks until my body really recovers and starts growing hair and not making everything taste terrible. But still, a milestone. I am tired, but relieved.

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