The unexpected drop

One of these days, I would like to get back to the point where dropping half of a bowl of egg drop soup on the floor is the worst thing that happens to me. In many ways I’ve been fortunate for very for a long time. And under the circumstances I’m going through now, I still consider myself very fortunate.

Ups and downs

The last few days have been rather difficult. The first chemo treatment was last Thursday the 7th.

Since that time, I’ve experienced severe weight fluctuations. By Saturday, I was up 14 pounds. Between Saturday and now, I’ve lost over 17 pounds. My blood pressure has been on the same kind of roller coaster.

I had not been able to work yet, but I did attempt to do so on Wednesday. I got up, took my time, took my blood pressure and saw that it was normal, and made my way to the office around 10.

By 11:30 that morning, dehydration had caught up with me. My blood pressure shot way down, to 90/60. My body temperature dropped to 93.7°.

We called the clinic for guidance, and they told me to come in immediately for blood samples and an IV. I ended up getting one and a half units of saline, a change in prescription guidance and two blood tests before I was sent on my way. I was feeling much better but still a little shaken about how fragile I have become.


I started documenting this journey under the idea that you need to listen to your body. And in my case, I had. There was no way I could have known that I was overexerting myself. They said that I would have had the same kind of blood pressure crash at home as if I’d gone to the office.

The other thing I learned is that there is so much more that is going to be happening to me over the course of the next weeks and months. The nurse told me that there was a very long list of effects that people experience after the chemo treatments. So long a list, they don’t just hand it to you. She said “If something strange happens, call us. And will let you know if that something that supposed to happen, and how we will help you with it.”

I understand that strategy completely. Giving someone with a new illness a laundry list of possible issues would drive them batty. The last thing I want to do is worry about 40 or 50 different things that could go wrong, and be in a constant state of awareness about every single one. Better to just let my body tell me when somethings that issue, and then call an expert.

The other thing I learned, is that this coming weekend is going to be very difficult. The white blood cells that provide protection from disease have a typical lifespan of 10 days in your body. But they really don’t become active and useful until about day 8 or 9. So by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be going into a period where my white blood cell production was essentially shut down. This will be my greatest risk for infection.

After that, things should get better. I might have some skin issues, and I may still lose my hair, but at least I will start feeling better and I won’t be as prone to falling ill. Then we start the whole cycle over again at the end of the month.

Bless you all

I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to all of the people — family, work family, friends and acquaintances — who are helping me in this fight. Though they are not participating directly in the chemical fray, they are helping take on the extra worries of the world so that I can fight the battle within.

And don’t worry about the soup. The half I had was great, and I have plenty of beef and broccoli for tomorrow.

19 thoughts on “The unexpected drop”

  1. Oh, Ike. I’m following each of your posts with such concern. Hard to know what to write in response except to say, like so many others, that you are in my thoughts a lot and that I’m sending boatloads of positive juju your way and sending up prayer on your behalf. You got this. xoxo

  2. Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.
    Walter Elliot

    You’re not gonna believe how absolutely fucking tired you are. Rest. The work will be there. Ya gotta make sure you’re there to do it. ❤️

  3. This must be a lot for you to process, and I’m sorry recent events have been so trying for you. I pray that the next few days pass without infection or worse complications.

    Please consider less takeout and try to eat good stuff. I’m positive that the family and friends you have relied upon so far for errands and such would be happy to cook a good meal. From what I’ve experienced, Southerners love bringing food during difficult times. 🙂

    Still praying for you. Take care!

  4. Dr.Luis Pineda has books out on eating well during treatments. He is a well-known cancer physician in our area. Also, white blood cells seem to respond well to the probiotics in Greek yogurt. Add some stevia or honey and a few strawberries. Chobani is my choice. You might want to pick up his book. Ike, I know you are loved and prayed for by many. I’m praying too.

  5. I am so sorry you are having to experience all of this! You are in my prayers everyday! chemo requires a special diet ( such as kale) , one that is good for replenishing the nutrients the chemo is killing. your body will thank you! REST is important, letting others help you is important too.
    This is not a sprint, but a marathon.. Take care of your self, one day at a time. You GOT this!!

  6. You’re so loved and supported, I don’t know what to offer other than humor. So here goes (apologies to anyone who takes a offense…not really)

    Chemo is the new Keto

    Don’t let these Instagram models know about the weight loss or they’ll be licking asbestos just to get new followers

    Okay I’ll stop. I just wanted to make ya smile because some Avocado dude on Facebook said we have to “Live Laugh Love” and I think he’s an essential oil doctor. So it’s like fact and stuff. 😉

    Hope you feel better my friend!

      1. LOLOLOLOL! I’m SO glad you aren’t taking his health advice! I know folks are going to tell you to eat healthy, but from my own experience as a caretaker, eat what makes you feel good.

  7. The thought of your rapid weight gain and loss makes my heart hurt! I like that you use the word “fragile,” Ike. I’m sure it’s a frightening realization, but as a caregiver I’ve seen that it’s true. It’s a new normal – just for a while – where your body’s responses will be unpredictable. Be gentle with yourself, and know that the rest of the world will understand (just as you would if the situation was reversed). You can do it!

  8. A temp drop to 93.7? Eek! It’s frightening to read; cannot image what that and the severe fluctuation in weight and blood pressure must’ve been like to experience. I’m sorry you have to go through this.

  9. Thank you for sharing this very personal journey and also teaching us more about this disease. It touches everyone. We are pulling for you! Thinking and praying for you. And thank you for letting me know how we can stay in touch! ❤️❤️

  10. The thing about chemo is, some of the things we would normally think would be good — like fresh fruits and veggies — can go south when met with all the nasty chemicals. Steamed or lightly cooked can be easier digest, down the road. So, for now, if you’re craving beef and broccoli, go ahead and eat them (but dropping the sodium would be good, tbh, given the blood pressure factor). There may come a time where it all tastes funny. Or maybe not. And that is the point, isn’t it — as you said earlier, of “listening to your body.” So I’m glad you listened when your body spoke up, and that is the best sign, and the best news, in all of this. Love you.

  11. Although I don’t know you well, I’m reading your posts & keeping up with your progress. I agree with the person who said for you to eat whatever you want. Your appetite will decrease but you need nourishment. With all the food delivery choices, eat what your body desires.
    Read some good fiction, too.

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