Update 6: Phase II Complete!

If my chemo treatment where a marathon, this would be the point at which the nipples really start to chafe.

Nipple_Chafing_a_consciousness_raiser

I wrote most of this update from my hospital bed at the UW Medical Center, admittedly not in the best of moods. I was basically stuck there for a week after I had a small fever and was asked to to head to the Emergency Room and the grind was starting to sink in. They are extra cautious with me and fevers because of my really poor immune system right now.

Before I checked out I asked my nurse, “What’s the longest you’ve seen a patient stay up here on this floor?” that being the other Oncology patients.

She said that she’s seen patients go as long as three or four month stints depending on their condition.

With that said, it definitely put some things into perspective for me. Sure, a lot of this situation sucks, but it could be worse.

I had a little mental slip-up into negativity that week and I can say first hand that having a bad attitude really didn’t help me or my family.

I’m thankful to be out, but I’m sure it won’t be my last of this journey.

The good news is that Phase II of my treatment is basically done (yay for progress!) and what a doozie it’s been. In my last post, I mentioned how this phase of treatment was basically two month-long identical regimens placed back-to-back. What’s crazy to me is that I somehow wound up in the hospital at the tail end of both halves.

Blood Counts

As for now, I’m waiting for certain blood counts to recover in my body in order to start my third phase of treatment (I have five phases in total).

I think this stuff is kind of interesting.

Every time I go into the doctors, they draw blood and basically give me a full printout stat sheet of different levels and characteristics of my blood that day.

Blood is made up of all kinds of crazy stuff, so the three stats I pay attention to most are:

Hematocrit (HTC) which is the volume percentage or red blood cells in the blood. Typically, a healthy person will be between 40%-45% on a daily basis. When I do chemo, this count goes way down for me and I have to get a transfusion every time I get below 25% (the lowest I’ve been is 19%) and when it gets low, things just get harder to do.

For instance, walking upstairs to take a shower can feel like an event. When the HTC is low, you have less blood cells carrying oxygen around in your body, so you get fatigued really easily. You also get that woozy feeling of standing up too fast quite often, which is scary if you’re actually in the shower and feel like you’re about to pass out and eat it into the shower door.

Platelets are colorless blood cells that help blood clot. Healthy people walk around with a count of 150-400 thousand. When these get low, you are at big risk for bleeding, meaning if I fall and bonk my head (and it bleeds internally) it could be fatal.

My all time low on record is a 7, which was pretty crazy. I picked a small scab on my back before I went to bed and woke up with a half dollar size blood spot on my shirt (yikes). I have to get platelet transfusions when my levels get down around 10-15 (these transfusions give me hives for some reason – weird).

Neutrophils I believe are a type of white blood cell and are really important for fighting infections. The normal range is between 1.8 – 7.0 thousand, I tend to live on the edge at 0.0 a lot of the time.

When that happens, I’ve become “neutropenic” and at that point, I need to be the bubble boy. I have no immune system at that point, so I’m crazy susceptible to germs and all kinds of other bad things (hence the seriousness around fevers). I have to be careful with handshakes and hugs etc.

“I’m Skinny Legs Brock and I have Cable” 

Referencing the photo I added at the top of this post, I want to leave you guys with a little humor.

With football season in full swing I’ve had some serious time on my hand to contribute to being a good sports fan. It also means I’ve seen every commercial like a million times, but this one really sticks out and makes me laugh every time because I feel his pain!

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Brock

15 thoughts on “Update 6: Phase II Complete!”

  1. Brock, a friend of yours….my son, would tell his 13 year old baseball team but if they could take the hit without complaint he would give them a candy bar. I’m building up a stash of candy bars for you! You aren’t complaining … you’re tough…you can do this…and you can win! We love you, Coach and Debbie Christian

  2. Hi you have not met me but you have met my husband Aaron and my son Mackenzee at your parents house in Chelan. I just wanted to say that your sense of humor through your journey has been great!! Aaron really liked the skinny legs Brock reference you made!! Keep up the positivity!!!

  3. Brock – You are an INSPIRATION to us all – Have been thinking and praying for better and better days in the near future for you….You deserve that and much, much MORE!!! Keep that positive attitude…..there is a rainbow at the end of this journey for you…..Love ya – E

  4. Keep it up Brock, you are winning the battle. I know you can do it! We are praying that God will give you the strength. Fight On!!

  5. Hey Brock,
    Can’t believe how strong you are and determined, we believe in
    you, we know how hard it is on you, loved that video at the end of
    Peyton, you look alike.
    Fight on, we are always praying for you love you so much

  6. I love reading your posts/ updates Brock! Your positive energy is very inspiring. You are ever in my prayers! If there’s anything that I can do, please don’t hesitate to ask.
    Big hugs, Sheri🙏

  7. I appreciate your updates and your humor Brock. You are truly a warrior (skinny legs or not). 🙂 Keep up the fight. I think about you and your family often and would do anything to help. Please let me know if you guys need anything!

  8. Hey Brock! You were in heavy rotation this week as we moved out of the eastlake office and prepped for sodo. Lots of great photos of your contribution to make eastlake great. We miss you and are sending you tons of positive vibes.

  9. Thank you for the update Brock. I am really glad that you explained so much and where your levels are. Your sense of humor is a blessing too. We will continue to pray for higher numbers and for no fevers. You are an amazing young man.

  10. Keep pressing on my friend. God blessing to you, we are praying for your strength to keep fighting this and that God will rise up and heal you! Your toughness shows in your writing. Keep it up! James 5:13-16.

  11. Hi Brock,
    I met a woman who just started a new job at Porch. I mentioned you to her. She said she had heard about you, but hadn’t met you yet. I told her that your company had been very supportive of you.
    I would love to get together when your immune system is strong enough to do that. I look forward to every one of your posts and updates.
    I’m doing a new job where I do career coaching on line and by phone for an excellent outplacement firm (that means they help folks who are laid off find new employment). I’m loving it! No commute, great hours and great pay.
    Please know you are in my thoughts, prayers and in my heart. I know that you are going to beat this. Someday in the future we will be having some chocolate together and a latte at my dining room table and reminiscing about all of this being behind you!
    All my best regards to you dear friend, Love, Ruth

  12. Dear “Skinny Legs Brock,”
    You are one of the strongest people I know!
    Sending love and continued prayers.
    🙂
    Carrie

  13. I am so glad Stephanie put this link to your web page out on Facebook. Until I saw that today I had no idea you had one. You’re pretty amazing to even have the energy to do this. Hang in there and keep up your positive attitude. That in itself can do wonders for your physical well being. You’re in my prayers for a clean bill of health and a long, good life.

  14. Prayers every day for your long journey and recovery. I’ve decided that while you wait for your “skinny legs” to get back to normal (and even beyond if you’re inclined to) you could become a writer. You’re really very good at it. You know how to draw people right into your story. Many thanks for doing this and letting us go along on this wild trip with you. My Christmas wish for you – after this seemingly never-ending journey is over that you will have a long, happy and healthy future ahead of you.

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