Anyway, went home. My grandson, who was how old then? He’d been born the year before so he was about a year old, he was getting christened in the May, and I was home in time for that, so we had a nice family party at my son’s house. Went to the christening of my grandson and enjoyed it, and the day after that I went back into hospital for the third cycle.
I went in, they took a blood count, and he said, ‘Oh, your counts aren’t high enough. They’ve actually dropped back down since you came out.’ A week, it was only two weeks gap. They said, ‘We can’t start you unless your counts are above a certain level. The neutrophils we like to have above one.’ And I think I was on about point six or point seven, so it wasn’t very good, much lower than when I’d come out at the end of the first cycle. And most of the other counts hadn’t fully recovered either and, I mean, the general consensus was, you’ve come back too quickly, you need more time.
And, of course, from my point of view it was slightly disturbing because my counts had gone zooming up on the first cycle, they’d gone to the highest they could, and now all of a sudden they’re struggling to even get to the minimum to start the third cycle, so it was quite worrying.
And, of course, I was also thinking about the fact that the longer we left it, the less chance there was for me to go to this party, which may sound like, you know, nothing I should be, something I shouldn’t really be worried about, but at the time I really, it was a family thing, the whole family were going. You know, we all wanted to be there.
Anyway, I went back a few days later, had another check and eventually they started, I think I was still home another fortnight and by this time the chances of going to this party were fading rapidly. And the outcome was I actually never made it to the party, I mean I was in hospital having the third cycle of chemo.
But we eventually started, I think, the second week in June we started the third cycle.
The consultant said to me that before coming back for the fourth cycle, because of what I’d gone through on the third, I could have a few extra weeks, and in the end I was home for eight weeks. So I had a really good long recovery spell, but I was pretty much up and running again within a few weeks, cutting the grass, you know, digging the garden, visiting friends, getting around, doing all the things that you normally do. I mean I really was up and running relatively quickly and that was always a good sign.
The counts recovered fairly well. They didn’t zoom up again, they went up slowly, but certainly the neutrophils got into normal range, the haemoglobin was nearly there, platelets is the other thing that they were all worried about, that’s the cells that help the blood to congeal.
And what they did, they seemed to be very slow coming up on the third cycle. They were fairly slow on the second cycle, but the third cycle they really were slow, and they never, I don’t think they ever got up above sixty-five. The beginning of normal range is about a hundred and fifty, and mine never rose above sixty-five when I was home between the third and fourth cycle.