White Blood Cells Also Do It

Just came home from the hospital – my white blood cell counts are too low for treatment this week.  When my nurse Pat came over with the news I immediately saw the sympathetic, “I’m sorry” look on her face – and I’m sure she saw the disappointed, “@#*&%!!” look on mine. I guess my white blood cells have gone into hibernation too.

On the upside, it appears my neck bumps are also hibernating — or, dare I even hope it? – perhaps they’ve left the region completely since neither my oncologist nor I can find them when we go a-poking and a-prodding in the neck parts.  She examined me, said she couldn’t feel them, and then she smiled. I think I’ve mentioned before her (possibly Swiss) frugality with effusiveness? She’s not exactly an open valve of gushing emotion.  But I like her, and I trust her.  So she smiles and I think, that’s the equivalent of “whoo-hoo!” in her world.

But… I’ve been fooled by shrinking lymph nodes and smiling oncologists before.  I’ve let myself get swept up in a wave of hope, only to be sucked down into the undertow of disappointment and fear – and frankly it knocked the wind right out of me.  Not just once but a few times now.  I don’t want to get all beat up again – but at the same time I can’t quite manage to keep the hope out completely.  It’s leaky, this fortification against disappointment that I’m trying to build; the hope seeps in.  Then again, fear finds its way in too, and this persistent, worsening, and supremely annoying cough certainly helps to keep me from busting out a premature victory dance.

What to do? Wait, of course.  I know this game by now: I have a CT scan scheduled for February 23rd.  All will be revealed.  Until then, my job is to get those white blood cells back up and running, get treatment, and try not to vacillate too wildly between hope (shrinking neck bumps!) and fear (worsening cough!)

Steady as she goes.  And back under the duvet, to wait and wait and hibernate.



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

7 responses to “White Blood Cells Also Do It

  1. Andrea

    Hi Leanne,

    My name is Andrea and I live in Vancouver B.C. with my husband and
    5 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old daughters. I was diagnosed with Her2+ (and ER+) breast cancer on June 10, 2009, two weeks after my 36th birthday. I happened upon your blog a few days ago and read it all in one afternoon while lying in bed (under the duvet!) trying to get over a terrible cold. I find your blog so truthful and so similar to my own experiences. Thank you for sharing your story, it is so well written and it gives me hope to keep pushing on through treatment. I have my last chemo treatment on Feb. 10th and then I continue on with herceptin and tamoxifen. I am looking forward to getting my hair back. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I am thinking about you and your family and sending positive vibes your way.

    Andrea 🙂

  2. Tanya

    Hi Leanne,
    Lars and I have been thinking of you — and just the other night we made what we call “Leanne’s Pasta” (yummy goat cheese, leek, garlic etc dish you made for us once and we’ve been attempting to replicate ever since). We’re sending you positive thoughts all the time.

  3. Duckie

    If you’re planning on staying under the duvet for any period of time, remember to eat duvet-friendly food, i.e. no beans! 😉

  4. Carol W.


    It’s very disappointing to have the delay, without question. Been there, done that (who cares about the t-shirt!). I’m sorry. But those white cells will rally and there will be another cancer bashing treatment day.

    I saw Gordon Lightfoot perform last night and one of the songs he played was “Rainy Day People”. The lyrics really struck me. We all have rainy day people. And we – those that follow your blog, your friends – are your rainy day people. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve copied some of the lyrics below.

    “Rainy day people always seem to know when it’s time to call
    Rainy day people don’t talk, they just listen till they’ve heard it all
    Rainy day [people] don’t lie when they tell ‘ya they’ve been down like you
    Rainy day people don’t mind if you’re cryin’ a tear or two

    If you get lonely, all you really need is that rainy day love
    Rainy day people all know there’s no sorrow they can’t rise above
    Rainy day [people] don’t love any others that would not be kind
    Rainy day people all know how it hangs on a piece of mind

    Rainy day people always seem to know when you’re feeling blue
    High stepping strutters who land in the gutters sometimes need one too
    Take it or leave it, or try to believe it
    If you’ve been down too long

    Rainy day [people] don’t hide love inside they just pass it on”

    So go ahead — share your hopes, share your fears, hibernate — we’re all here to listen and are passing on our love for you. And, of course, we’re also your sunny day people. Standing by for when it’s time to celebrate and cheer!

  5. Georg W.

    I sent you your copy, and I wish to share with all that love and care for you.


    My gift to you, as well as Deborah. Both of you will never be forgotten.

    Love G

  6. Leanne

    ANDREA – I’ll be thinking of you Feb 10th and beyond. Keep pushing on through treatment. You can look forward to the sprouting of your chia-pet hair along with the flowers in spring and in the mean time know I’m sending positive vibes to you and your family too.
    TANYA – What a nice surprise to hear from you!! Please give Larsy my love too & thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. Mmmm….goat cheese pasta…
    DUCKIE – Oops, had chili and beer last night!
    CAROL – I don’t know which rock I’ve been hiding under but I have never heard that song before! Beautiful… I love my rainy day people. Don’t know where I’d be without them. Thanks so much for posting it & for always checking in.
    And thanks to you too GEORG – Deborah and I are still resolutely right here on earth, but its nice that our names are going to Mars!

  7. Blood Platelets

    When you are told that you have a low blood platelet count or level, it basically means that your blood does not have the normal clotting abilities that blood should have or that your blood has a low level for fighting infection.


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