Is it me or is timing flying past much faster. It is exactly one week ago that I successfully completed my 4th chemo treatment. Phew! Overall the treatment well but there is a possibility a change in plans.
So here is the story. As you may have learnt from my earlier posts, there is a blood test that is carried out prior to start of each session to decide how I am responding to the treatment plus the results will raise any concerns in my blood. For me the key indicators are the cancer markers and white blood cells that I am most worried about. I like to see a downward trend for the cancer markers and for the white blood cells level increased to a higher level. As soon as my oncologist sat down with me to review the results for round 4, I was taken aback to see cancer markers increased by 10% from 49.9 to 56.3. She was just as surprised as I am. There are two possibilities that could see the markers spike up.
- Fighting a viral infection.
- The cancer cells has learnt to adapt to resist drug and mutate to generate new cancer cells.
I have been physically fine and not fallen ill in between treatments. As for the second point, cancer cells are incredibly intelligent to regenerate new cells in a matter of days. In round 3, I postponed the treatment by 5 days simply because my white blood cells were too low and anemic. In that short space of time, it is an opportunistic time for the cancer cells to adapt and learn to be resistant. I haven’t researched into this myself nor can I prove it. Moreover the chemo drugs has “expiry” date in terms of effectiveness. In my case, the drug, Campto last for about 17 days or so. Delaying any further could pose further risk and lower the effectiveness.
So what does the above mean for me. My doctor explained the options available. First option is to change the chemo drug to the Carboplatin/Taxotere combo used in my first volume of chemo last year. This means back to one round every 3 weeks and I would need to completed at most 4 rounds. My white blood cells levels with this drug didn’t drop below the normal range. Second choice is to use a complete new drug that is prescribed on a weekly dosage. I am not too keen on this option because my veins would not be able to cope with the weekly poking. As it is now my veins are under so much stress each time I have chemo plus I only have less than 2 weeks to rest before it all happens again. In the event I choose to have his intense program, she strongly recommended for me to insert a catheter near my collarbone for much smoother and painless administration. Oh boy! Decisions decisions.
If I had to compare the choices, I would opt for number 1. And from past treatments, my white blood cells did not take a huge beating from the drugs. There is a fine balancing act right now of making sure the drugs are working and still be somewhat strong enough to fight off a cold.
I am just wondering with the modern medicine today, how come pharmaceutical companies haven’t thought of a wonder pill for white blood cells.
TGIF. Have a good weekend everyone!