November, 2015

Relation between Neutrophil and Lymphocyte

Passing a lab test this week, I could complete an Abraxane cycle-three weeks in a row followed by a week off-for the first time since I started this regimen from this September. Because I had canceled the infusion already twice, even after I sat in a chemo chair, I was afraid that the cancelation might happen any time until a nurse really hang the drug on the pole.

This week the lab result showed one of the white blood cell counts, Neutrophil, was slightly above the standard range, while Lymphocyte, another type of white blood cell count, was slightly below the standard range. As I told the nurse that I was concerned this could cancel the infusion, she said that Neutrophil and Lymphocyte are in a relative relation, so if one increases, the other decreases.

I had no idea of such a thing, but now it made sense. When the count of Neutrophil improved by Neutrogena, a shot, the reason why the count of Lymphocyte went down was not because I stopped a mushroom supplement AHCC but simply the Neutrophil count went up.

The nurse continued that maybe the Neutrophil count went so high because the dose of Neutrogena was too high. I asked if it’s because I was infected so Neutrophill was fighting against the agent of the infection increasing the number. This week I took a diuretic since I felt like I was passing less urine and the feet were a little swollen. The doctor ordered a urinary test, but it came back negative. Then I asked if I needed to reduce the dose of Neupogina, but the doctor said, “No,” again.

I won’t check my blood counts until the following week, but I am glad that I could learn something important again. Our body is a total mystery and festinating.

Optimistic About Scans

Welcoming my high school friends from Japan, I had a busy week, driving to Downtown LA, Hollywood, Big Bear, Queen Mary, and Reagan Museum. Though I was not sure if I could make it to spend the whole week with them, I could drive, walk, and cook without even being bothered by numbness and tingling of the feet. It was a good week!

Then after sending them off with tears at LAX, I headed to Kaiser for a bone scan, which was ordered due to a rising liver enzyme, ALP.
I expect the result coming back in a week,but since I have no pain, and perhaps I had a fun week, I am optimistic about the result.

The next day, Monday, I went to have Herceptin, which closed the 2nd full cycle of the current regimen. In four weeks, when one more cycle is done, I will have a CT scan to evaluate the regimen of Abraxan and Herceptin. For this one, also, I am optimistic right now because a cough, which I believed clonic and was due to the tumor– the oncologist thought, stopped after I increased the dose of a cough medicine from 1/3 to the full described dose, as well as a chest pain.

If so, I could have one more joyous holiday season!

Bone Scan Was Negative

The result of the bone scan I took last Sunday came back as negative. Yay!
It said that as there were some changes in the lower spine and skull, though they could be arthritis, or artifact – follow up CTs were recommended.
I will take the next chest-abdominal CT on 12/2. Though a brain CT was also ordered, I am afraid of exposing to too much radiation in a short period. As a brain MRI I took a couple months ago was negative, I am asking the oncologist if I can postpone or even cancel the brain CT.

The exams will continue. The treatment will continue. They may cause side effects or after effects, but at least I am ok now, and thankful for that.

If You Are Betrayed

When a breast cancer friend was dying, her gray haired husband, who has shared good and bad times together for more than 50 years, was faithfully serving her and right next to her until the very end.
Although cancer battle is so ferocious, if you have a loving partner, the death was not the defeat— I thought so.
Yet, I learned that the reality was not always so nice.

Sometimes an astronomical cost of the treatment overwhelms the household economy and a patient is blamed by the spouse for that.

Sometimes because of the change of the figure like loosing hair and breast, or loss of the intimacy at night either due to cancer progression or side-effects of chemo, the spouse may run for different women.

Cancer can destroy not only the body, but also the finance and marriage. How despairing it is to die being betrayed by the one you believed, on top of loosing everything! I have total sympathy for such women and get angry at their unfaithful husbands, but if I think myself in their shoes, they appear as the victims of cancer, also. Overall, we are all weak pathetic human beings.

When the life turn to an unexpected direction, and realize that you lost the control completely, you may want to run away to alcohols, drugs, gambling, or sex outside of the marriage instead of facing the trials.
If that happened to me, could I still express gratitude to the husband instead of becoming resentful?
Could I be willing to understand or accept his burden?
Could I take the beat which almost shattered the soul and forgive him?

Without the help from The Lord, I don’t think I can with my own strength.
On the cross, Jesus, who was betrayed, humiliated, and beaten, asked, ” Father, please forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Even if the partner is totally jerk hopelessly and we had to die all alone, I hope we can still find peace in Jesus begging Him for Grace and Lve.

Great Week

Getting up earlier than usual, I put a turkey in the oven.

Turkey before

A turkey before baking

Turkey after

5 hours after

This summer as I was told by the oncologist that time that she ran out options for me though cancer was growing, I was not sure if I could enjoy this Thanksgiving. Yet, God was so graceful. I could bake the turkey again!

Before Thanksgiving, George held two book signings.
GeoHis book sales had a good start being sold out at Amazon just one week after the sale, and about 200 copies of the book were sold in two signings.
I am thankful for not only for many people who came to the signings, but also for so many helpers, who made beautiful table center pieces as well as delicious goodies, musicians, photographers, a registrar, and so on including my children and 82 year old mother-in-law, who came to support George.

IMG_5503

A creative beautiful amazing center piece

I am happy and thankful for him, who was the center of this great achievement, and of course the Lord, who made everything possible inspite of my concern!

family photo

with George, mother-in-law, and grownup children on Thanksgiving 2015