Chemo number two went without a hitch. I sneaked a peak at my blood test results and swelled with pride at the sturdiness of my little red and white soldiers. My liver is happy and my kidneys are coping well.
The bad news is they decided to reduce my dose.
My little holiday in Emergency Admissions suggested to my team that my chemo dose was too high, and my sore spleen finally convinced them to spare me the Neulasta injection this time (spleen rupture is one of the rare side effects). So they took a cautious approach and only prescribed me 80% of my previous dose of FEC 100.
I'm not happy about this.
Other than the neutropenia, I coped well with my first chemo dose. I was certain that most of my discomfort was down to the injection and the cold I was fighting rather than the chemo itself. This cycle - I'm currently on day 6 - has been embarrassingly easy. Some very minor digestive niggles (enough to notice but nothing that would interrupt normal service), a touch of mild heartburn, an 'off' taste in my mouth and tiredness have been the extent of my suffering this time. On day 2, I spent the day in Plymouth enjoying St. Patrick's Day; on day 4, I spent five hours working on my allotment - slowly, yes, but surely working the earth and drinking in the spring sunshine.
I don't want an easy time of this. I want it to work. That's it. If I have to suffer, so be it. I don't want to be back in these shoes in two years' time because my dose was lowered. Dosage seems to be a little haphazard, based mostly on your height and weight. I understand they can do nothing more than play with the numbers, hoping for the best possible outcome. But this study scares me a little: it references another study that found when dosage was dropped to 80% the 'cure' rate dropped by as much as 50%!
My plan is to stay healthy for the rest of this cycle, then ask for my dose to be upped again.
C'mon, neutrophils...don't let me down.