I've given so many blood samples in the past 6 months that the vein in the crook of my right arm is a little calloused and the technician needed to find a softer spot on the vein a little further down. No problem, I managed to rapidly fill his three test tubes and proceed to my oncologist's waiting area. When the results were in, I was called in to discuss how I've been since the last treatment. I said that I'd been a little more fatigued than before but that it could be from the 40 laps I'd done (overdone!) at the pool last Friday. Today's blood work showed I was on the anaemic side, but not enough to postpone treatment or even need additional medication. I'll be using more spinach and eggplant to see if this does anything. The white blood cell count was at its usual 3800 level, on the low end of normal (3,500 to 9,000) and more than enough to qualify for treatment so he set me up with my IV catheter. I asked about the Factor V Leiden (after finding the right Japanese words for the gene and protein involved) and the possibility of a connection with last year's blood clot due to "genetic resistance to effects of activated protein C" (straight off the internet). He seemed genuinely interested and wrote down what I said and said that he'd add it to the list of things to be tested when the rest of the bloodwork is done. He also scheduled me for a late morning mammogram and a lunchtime ultrasound right after my chemo and got me on the roster for a CT scan on the 25th. Results of these tests will be discussed on the 1st of August when we also talk about hormonal therapy options.
The nurses in the chemo room were their usual pleasant selves today. I brought a bag full for used paperback books that I had already read to pass on to a nurse whose husband is American. She and the other nurses and pharmacist congratulated me on the completion of the treatment and told me to stop in after the oncologist worked out the hormonal therapy routine so they could give me literature and advice too. Then I went down to the basement for my mammograms and ultrasound (breasts, chest in general and around my neck) which were uneventful although I could see the radiated portion was giving the technician a hard time. She marked a few 3 to 5 mm dark spots with her mouse and rechecked a few places more than others. I thought it looked "cloudier" all over than it did in last November's ultrasound. The technician won't discuss any results so I have to wait until August.
I didn't make it back in time to go to the Sayonara lunch party for a Japanese friend who has been co-leading the local English playgroup with another American friend but I did manage to meet them in the park near the station to give her a big good-bye hug. Her husband's job is taking them (her, a soon to be first grader boy and a pre-schooler boy) to the San Diego area in San Bernardino. I wonder where cousin Kathy is these days...
Posted by Kathy on Tuesday, July 11, 2006