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In The Red

Before I get the go-ahead for each life-extending, bi-weekly, Opdivo immunotherapy infusion, the infusion nurse draws blood while I’m in the chemo chair. She/he then sends the sample off to the on site lab and they perform a series of blood tests right there at the facility. They look for gross anomalies, but the main metrics of interest are the white and red blood cell counts. If the counts are too low, they turn the patient away and actions are taken to bring up the counts before bringing the patient back. So far it hasn’t happened to me, but sadly, I’ve seen people who’ve driven from substantial distances get turned away on the spot.

The table below shows some of my blood test results as measured over the last two months. I have no before-cancer baseline to compare the table with, but I’d find it hard to believe that I’ve (or you’ve) ever had a clean slate of no out-of-range measurements.

Except for my TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) level, all of the “reds” in the above table are either just barely too high or just barely too low. We’ve been continually upping the dosage of levothyroxine I’ve been taking in an attempt to bring my TSH level waaaaaay down into the normal range of 0.4 milliunits per liter (mU/L) to 4.0 mU/L. I’m currently on 100 mcg of levothyroxine.

The sheer number of quantities they can measure in 15-20 minutes of analysis is amazing, dontcha think? Imagine trying to do this just 10 years ago?

Categories: Cancer
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