I went in for my chemo cocktail yesterday.


OK. Here we go with the next lesson from Deirdre’s Book of Wimbly-Wambly Candyland Science. (NB: You can quote it at parties, but DO NOT quote it in front of doctors, nurses, medical students, health techs – or really – anyone who knows anything about anything.)

Now, as I understand it, our stem cells create our blood, which is comprised of white blood cells, red blood cells, leukocytes, platelets, gin and chocolate chips. A normal drop of blood has 3,500-10,500 white blood cells. But when you’re in Candyland, things can get a little off-kilter and your stem cells can get a little bedraggled with all the nuclear bullying and toxic force-feeding. And then those stem cells go on strike and refuse to put everything in the recipe.

Apparently, we have pushed this game just far enough for now and my stem cells are holding out on producing white blood cells, leaving me with about 1,000 white blood cells in a single drop of blood – about 2,500 cells shy of what my blood needs to be considered healthy.

Is this going to kill me? No, sillies. But it does mean that I have to go off chemo till my blood evens out, which could be weeks or months. It also means that during this time, I am in moderate danger of developing infections as my blood takes off its boxing gloves and takes a seat to catch its breath.

This isn’t surprising and I know it’s a constant challenge in Candyland. Still, I’m so focused on finishing treatment and returning to life, that this is just an irritating delay.

Pictured above: White and red blood cells.

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