The setting is such: a room in Dr. Potkul’s office, Mar Bear & Kevin with the mom-proclaimed-hockey-size-bag of chemo activities (the bag is that big, but 7 hours is a long time!) jammed under their tiny chairs. Me on the table, hydrating on that chemo water schedule. Doc walks in, casually drops a, “no treatment today, counts are too low.” Say what?! None of us even knew that could be a possibility! #buzzkill #mybodystrikesagain 

So, no chemo this week. Who knew! There goes my plan, yet again! But I was kind of proud because one of my questions was about my white blood count as it was showing a 1 something on my last test result when the normal range starts at 3. I’m a very curious human so I like trying to make sense of all the science of this stuff.  So yes, my white blood counts were too low for chemo. If I weren’t in radiation right now, they could have given me a med for it but since I am, we must hold off. It becomes a waiting game, I’m scheduled to try again a week from today. Such a buzz kill as I was mentally ready to go but I guess it is a nice week reprieve. Dr. Potkul is the renaissance man though, he took my stitches out for me today! He shook his head as he came in the room calling me the Frequent Flyer at Loyola. 😂

After that I had radiation per usual & also met with my radiation oncologists. They too were giving me a hard time about my finger but were impressed with Dr. Potkul taking the stitches out. I love how much I laugh with these doctors. They are quite funny! The side effects of radiation are hitting my body harddddd right now (no exaggeration with all those d’s). It’s made for some rough days. 10 more to go & then likely 3 internal radiation sessions. Do you know what the ‘possible side effects’ of radiation are? Cancer. I laugh because it reminds me of the Friends episode when Phoebe has a headache and takes a pill only to read that the possible side effect of the medicine is a headache. Shaking my head but obviously the chances are quite small and the reward for my current cancer is necessary. I do hate hearing those things though. It’s unnecessary worry in a worry wart brain like mine. File that one away, Beef! Good news is my skin is holding up well. A lot of times with radiation you get what’s like a bad sun burn. I’ve managed to escape that so far. Keep the lotion flowing! 

I’ll tell you again that cancer is truly shattering everything about who I am, making me be ok with things so outside of my norm. A plan is always my best friend. And then cancer happens and you quite literally can’t plan a thing. I’m learning you have to learn to do three things really well: roll with the punches, make the most of the good days & know the bad moments will break in due time. So here I am today, one day better at that. I’m bummed that this is another week tacked onto the process but say that out loud again Beef, it’s one week. Own it as a gift of a week reprieve, and assuming I stay away from wine glasses, perhaps it was just meant to be a quiet week of recovery from the chemo perspective.

So here are the three things I could use your prayers for though! 

1.) My white blood count – let it rebound like Dennis Rodman on the 90’s Bulls. I asked my Doctor what I could do to help it today, it really is just time but he did also respond with, “eat.” Yes sir! Doctors orders. We are scheduled to try chemo again next Tuesday at 8am, my labs are at 7am. Radiation works better with chemo so we’d all love to get another round in! 

2.) My body & the radiation side effects. Just pray that I continue to battle. Pray for some reprieve. I appreciate so much how attentive my doctors are in trying everything to make this as manageable as possible. 

3.) Quite literally my head, and thus my heart. I woke up this morning to a pillow with what looked like a full head of hair on it. I got out of the shower and my bathroom floor looked like a salon floor. Thank God I have such thick hair! I have an appointment tomorrow at the cancer center at 9am to shave it all off. Cancer can play on its own terms in a lot of ways & it does, but this is the one we play on my terms with. I don’t know if I’ll laugh or cry during, probably both but I’m relieved to know there’s an end to the current emotional torment. There’s a reason I got stitches in my middle finger, it’s because I can flip off cancer and it be ok and you better believe I’m giving cancer a huge middle finger over this part. But tomorrow we move forward as bald Beef and I will own it! Bald Beef has a great ring to it, don’t ya think? Anyways, pray for my heart tomorrow and that I rebound fast to know cancer can take my hair but it can’t take my spirit or my smile! And send cute hat suggestions, I don’t think I can pull off scarves. 🙂

For now, I’m off to nap. Low white blood counts make you sleepy so at least I feel better now for always being so tired! #medicallyexcused Have a great day and cheers to this never ending roller coaster that’s keeping us on our toes!


4 thoughts on “Buzzkill

  1. Love you and love your spunk! Enjoy the reprieve! I remember being heartbroken every time they told me chemo would need to be postponed bc of low blood counts. It messed with my “game plan!” Then, I learned to outsmart it! (Well at least I tried!) Low blood counts began to happen a lot, so Bethany, I decided to make fun plans for the day….I’d plan on something fun for my chemo-buddy of the day to do so that IF my blood counts didn’t come through, fun was awaiting us! I honestly went out to a lot of fun restaurants, I’d never been to and got to have great “Cathy Up” times with friends and family. 😊💙

    All Conrad-DeBroeck “Beef” shirts came on this week! Your cousins are excited to eat them in your honor! We love you, Bethany. Awesome Christmas pictures of Conrads and Harts. Awesome “You!”

    Aunt Jeanne, Kristen, Will, Mark, Brandeis and Matt


  2. My mother-in-law has been reading your blog and staying up to date. I know that’s a bit stalker-ish (thanks facebook) since you haven’t met her or even my husband yet, but I figured you wouldn’t turn down some extra praying power! She kept repeating this weekend over the holiday how much she admires your attitude and fight. But she did have one question that I know I *know* but can’t remember… Where did the nickname Beef come from? Good luck tomorrow!


  3. Shedding tears on your behalf for tomorrow. Playing “I’m Going to Love You Through It”. Remember cancer or being bald will never define you. Your humor, strength, optimism and kindness make you who you are. Your red hair is a bonus that will return. Keep eating and getting those counts up. Will be praying for you. Love, Mom Hart


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