During the bouts of cancer diagnosis and treatments, Rachel writes e-mails to keep her friends and family updated on her thoughts and spiritual walk.

Chemo postponed

August 29, 2004

Tomorrow (Monday) was supposed to be Round 2 of chemo but it’s been postponed.


On Friday, I went in for bloodwork and my appointment with the oncologist. My white blood cell (WBC) count is too low and so I can’t take chemo until it goes up. Basically, your white blood cells are what fight infection and they take a big hit from the chemo drugs. They are supposed to rise to a level of at least 1.5 in order for me to be well enough to get chemo again (it was 3.0 before I started round 1). My white blood cell count was 0.1 on Friday.


Not good. Means I’m very susceptible to infection and unable to fight it if I do catch something so I’m having to be extremely careful. Basically, if I get a fever, I go right to the hospital. I didn’t really realize how at risk I am (because I’ve been feeling so good) but my dad put it in perspective for me when he said that I could be in the hospital on a respirator within 2-3 hours if I got, say, pneumonia. Needless to say, I’m not shaking anyone’s hand these days. Nothing personal.


It’s also not a great thing that I haven’t recovered well during the first round as usually your ability to recover is diminished during the course of the chemo as your body gets more tired from fighting. But the doctor said that sometimes it’s just a “blip” and that some people continue through chemo fine. We’re hoping that’s the case with me.


I’m on a wait list for chemo on Thursday. If they can fit me in, they will do bloodwork on Thursday morning and see if my WBC count is back up. If it doesn’t get back up they are talking about putting me on a medication that boosts your WBC. Hoping this doesn’t happen as it’s not covered by MSP (BC Healthcare) and is quite pricey.


Quinn and Kate are doing great. I’m glad they are so young because they really don’t know what’s going on. Although they can whine and be clingy at times, it seems like more normal “I’m 2” or “I’m 10 months” behaviour than a reaction to me being sick. The fact that my mom is a constant and comforting presence is the biggest reason that they are mostly unaffected by what’s going on. Whenever I leave for one appointment or another, Quinn happily stands at the doorway waving and saying, “Mummy see doctor!” We are so grateful for her help as we would not be able to do this without her. She is planning on leaving mid-September and then Neil’s mom will come to help.


Anyway, that’s where we’re at. We haven’t had a discussion with the oncologist about the second tumour yet as the focus was on my WBC count. Will let you know how things progress.


One more thing – I really can’t describe how tangible the support of your prayers is. There are times when I am down and, moments later, feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Many of you have sent verses to encourage me – having no idea how timely the thought would be to me that day. It’s not a coincidence. I hope you realize that you are being used by God. Psalm 16 has always been a special psalm to me and verse 3 says, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” I think of this verse when I think of you. Neil and I often remark to each other how fortunate we are to be surrounded by such amazing people – like you.


Thank you.



One Comment

  1. God is so proud of you.

Leave a Comment