Anemia and how to solve it

My nurse put down in front of me three cups of different fruit juices.

“I’m ready for you,” she said.

After the last two weeks of me getting light-headed or sick and nearly passing out after blood tests before chemo treatment, she brought the juices to help me recover just in case it happened again.

I’m not sure what was causing it. Last week a nurse told me I could be dehydrated and that I should eat before lab tests. I spent all day Thursday and some of Friday morning with my water bottle in hand. I made myself pancakes for breakfast Friday and put snacks in the bag I take to chemo.

This week a physician assistant told me it was probably my fear of needles and aversion to blood. I tried to take her advice of closing my eyes and thinking about the beach. The beach is not a nurse’s office. No one ever came at me with a needle at the beach.

Yesterday went much better, though. I didn’t even feel light-headed and I was able to walk back to the waiting room and then to chemo without a wheelchair. A little victory.

You’d think cancer treatment would have me over my dislike of needles and blood by now, but no.

Speaking of which, I was told this week that I have been getting progressively more anemic over the last few weeks and if it gets worse, I’ll need a blood transfusion. I can’t tell you how much I dislike that idea. It grosses me out.

I said this to the nurse who delivered the news and he kind of laughed. He said it sounds like a bigger deal than it actually is. Apparently the chemo does this and it’s a routine procedure. I’m hoping that somehow my numbers get better next week and I don’t have to have one.

I have noticed that I get winded just walking sometimes. I’m told that could be a symptom of anemia.

I’m a little frustrated that this has been an issue with me and no one told me until yesterday. Could that be why I had been getting sick during lab tests? Surely someone would have mentioned it to me if it was.

Anyway, yesterday marked the halfway point for Taxol chemotherapy treatment. If all goes as planned, I’ll be finished with chemo in mid September. That’s just in time to have a much better fall than summer.

After chemo comes radiation treatment. I’m not sure how long that will take. I still need to meet with that doctor.

Things are moving right along.

2 thoughts on “Anemia and how to solve it

  1. Dear Lori, I’m a former cancer patient. It’s a difficult journey but it sounds like you’re doing really great. I wish you well. I didn’t enjoy the trip. I just knew I had to go through it. You’ll be well again. I know you’ll survive. The worst part, “the Red Devil” as I think of it, you’ve already survived. You’re such a good writer. I’ve loved reading your column in the paper. Be strong and know that people are praying for you. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s an incredibly difficult time for everyone now, coping with COVID-19. You’re such a fine example for the rest of us, showing us how to be brave as we find our way through this strange and difficult time. I hope you’ll continue to document your journey. It’s a tough one. It can also be lonely. I’ll pray for you. Be sure to rest when you can. It’s important. I pray that once you finish chemo, you’ll find a great deal of physical strength will begin to return. But until then, try to relax and just let the chemo do it’s work. It’ll be so great to hear about your treatment ending and then your return to running next year. I’ll be cheering for you. You’re inspiring the rest of us with your journey….. Sending you my best wishes for your recovery.


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