Dave was scheduled to begin Cycle 2 today. His body apparently had different plans.
On the first day of every cycle, labs are drawn to make sure that all of his counts are where they should be. Once the labs come back, then the chemo can be hung. Today, his counts were unacceptable and thus his whole treatment cycle shifts back one week.
His white blood cells (WBCs) were too low. They were at 3.3K/mm3 (cubic millimeter). According to the reference on the page, they need to be at least 4.8.
His absolute neutrophil count (ANC) was also too low. It was 990 and it needs to be at least 1000. (Fun fact: A 'neutrophil' is a particular type of WBC that leads the fight against infection.) With a low neutrophil count, you are extremely susceptible to infection. We have to treat his health like a newborn: go to the ER if he has a fever of 100.5 or higher.
So chemo this week has been cancelled. His doctors are giving his body another week to increase it's WBC production. If all goes according to plan, he will have chemo next week instead. Then, at the end of next week, he'll get a shot called Neulasta.
Neulasta will boost his WBC production. It will, most likely, cause an aching pain in his bones. The packet of information does not indicate how long that pain will last, so that's super fun! This is the same type of shot you're given if you're a bone marrow donor and you're selected to donate Peripheral Stem Cells via blood donation. (Check out the National Marrow Donor Program for more information on registering to be a bone marrow donor >> here)
So in the meantime, I get an unexpected night off from cooking (and some unexpected grilled chicken) and Dave will earn an unexpected paycheck. It also means that Dave will have enough energy to go trick-or-treating with Aria for her first time. So you see, there's always a silver lining!
On the flip side, assuming things stick to the new schedule and don't get changed again, Thanksgiving is a chemo day :( Bummer.