This post is targeted primarily to fellow rectal cancer patients.
This week has been very confusing. Patterns between blood work results and the way my body has been reacting are hard to find.
Friday morning, I arrived early at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre for my 3rd set of blood tests in one week, followed by my 2nd last chemotherapy treatment. White blood cells had gone from 2.6 on Tuesday to 1.6 on Wednesday to 4.8 on Friday. Haemoglobin and platelets had both improved steadily. The absolute neutrophil counts went, on those same days, from 1.4 (1.5 being the minimum for treatment) to 0.9 to 2.1. I'd been feeling quite poorly on Tuesday, but good for the following three days.
But Wednesday, I started getting rectal bleeding; no pain, just evidence of some blood. Then Friday, near the end of the infusion of oxaliplatin, there was a lot more blood in evidence when defecating. Because no oncologists were available to examine me, I had to find a doctor in the family health network filling in for my general practitioner to do an external exam. At the same time, as the oxaliplatin infusion was nearing completion, I started getting the tell-tale neuropathy symptoms in my finger tips and toes. In fact, the neuropathy symptoms are worse than ever before; I can barely type this post because of the tingling sensation.
The exam from the GP substitute was reassuring to some extent. There was evidence of a fissure at the anal opening, meaning that the blood was most likely from a hemorroid, but we both agreed that it would be prudent to request an examination from my surgical oncologist early next week, if merely to eliminate the possibility that some of the bleeding is coming from the anastomosis itself.
Maybe the fog about patterns and how I'm feeling will clear up somewhat before my last treatment scheduled for two weeks from yesterday.