Quick Note: I have heard from a number of people who are worried because I haven’t posted for a while. My bad. I have three articles in the works and with the activities around the holidays, I enjoyed being lazy. All is good! 😍

Haven’t heard the term Spoonie before? It was a first for me too. My friend Anita McSorley commented on my post titled Emotional Changes with a link to an article which describes the Spoon Theory, a term which originated with a chronically ill young women by the name of Christine Miserandino.

Definition: The Spoon Theory is a way to help healthy individuals understand what it feels like to be chronically ill.

  • Healthy people wake up to a day filled with an unlimited supply of possibilities.
  • People like me engaged in treatment for a chronic disease, whether curable or not, wake up with the same unlimited supply of possibilities.
  • Think about these possibilities as a handful of spoons, say twenty.
  • With each new daily challenge, both you and I lose a spoon.
  • The difference is that you’ll be able to replace the spoon during the day; a luxury I no longer enjoy.

That may be an over simplification but it’s my interpretation. All of us battling a disease like cancer are Spoonies.

Health Update

Today, Wednesday, January 13th. is a chemo day. I got a week off in December as my original date was the 23rd with bottle of on the 25th. Without the break, I would have to go to the hospital on Christmas Day to have the Baby Bottle disconnected. After a chemo treatment is when I feel the side-effects the most. With each new day following chemo, the side effects dismiss and I feel a little better so this rescheduling made for a healthier Christmas. Yee Ha!

Prior to every Chemo treatment, I have blood drawn to track of my levels. There are lots of tests done but the four important values are Neutrophils, White Blood Cells, Hemoglobin, and Platelets. If you click on any of the titles in the “Test” column below, a new tab will open with a summary of the role of each blood component listed.

TestUnitsNormalNov 9Nov 23Dec 7Dec 29Jan 13
Neutrophils (Neut)Billion/Litre2.00 – 7.501.491.452.131.712.98
White Blood Cells (WBC)Billion/Litre4.50 – 11.002.532.773.262.604.36
Hemoglobin (HGB)Grams/Litre140 – 1808189849793
Platelets (PLT)Billion/Litre150 – 350117747110463
Comparison Of Blood Work over a few weeks

In almost every case my counts are below the normal and that’s to be expected. These are the four values of importance to the experts at the clinic and if any of the four drop below a critical level, there would be adjustments to my meds or I’d be advised to take a break to allow my body to recover naturally. So far I’ve never reached that point and I’m tolerating the treatments better than anyone expected.

I am at the end of my scheduled chemo treatments. On January 19th I meet with my Chemo Oncologist Dr. Wojciech Morzycki. I haven’t had a CAT scan which is the test to observe active cancer cells and determine the effectiveness of my current treatment. I expect he will have me back on bi-weekly treatments in the near future.

I am gaining weight, working out, riding my bike trainer, eating well and last night I had the best sleep I’ve had in years. My diarrhea is off and on so that’s an improvement. It is a known side effect of my chemo drug Oxaliplatin. These side effects are like dominoes; the diarrhea results in a drop of the potassium levels in my blood which is an important electrolyte which transports nutrients to cells and removes waste. As I write, I’m in the chemo clinic attached to an infusion pump. In addition to the Oxaliplatin, today I’m getting potassium. My body is a state of chaos but I still feel good.

As always, it is good to have you as support pillar at my side and I’m thankful to have God holding my hand in such a tight and comforting grip.💪🙏👍

13 Replies to “I am a SPOONIE”

  1. Mental Telepathy … I was just this morning thinking that Phil hasn’t posted in a while, and was hoping you were OK well, I have my answer. It’s good to hear your positive words and I like that you’re feeling good. Keep busy and yes, I’m in your corner as is God, His will be done for each of us. Keep up the great work, love and prayers for you, Janet and Family 👏🏻🤗🙏🏻♥️

  2. It’s good to hear from you .. I admire your strength.. Having The Lord close … he carry’s you when you need him the most. God bless thinking of you .

    1. Hi Steve

      I just mentioned you in a message on a comment. Given my current training, we’ll be on a tour this May in the Netherlands. As I mentioned in that note on the comment, given the COVID status is European countries, I wouldn’t be surprised if the race gets postponed to August as it did in 2020. There is an upside … it will be warmer.

      Cheers, Phil

  3. Never expected to get a shout out, Phil, but I’m glad you liked the article! And, I, too, had noticed the long period of radio silence, so I was glad to sign on to see it’s all because you’re too busy to talk to us! Glad to hear you’re sleeping better and back at the bike. You’ll make that ride yet!

    1. Life is good and curiously my side effects from my most recent Chemo treatment were pretty minimal by comparison to prior treatments. Sensitivity to cold and chemo-related exhaustion are my most significant challenges.

      Cheers, Phi

  4. So glad that you are doing well. Nice to have so many activities and interests to keep your mind busy along with your body. Stay safe in this COVID world!

    1. My next blog will focus on the human need to have purpose in our lives. I have plenty of that right now so it keeps me motivated.

      Cheers, Phil

  5. Great to see you are posting again. I was a little worried but I was hoping that you had taken some ‘time off’ for Christmas. So pleased to read that you are gaining weight and back on your bicycle trainer as well as sleeping better than for a long time. Christmas here in England was a much reduced affair. We had to cancel the family visits but did manage to to have Christmas lunch with the grandchildren. It was outdoors in the back garden on separate tables and although it didn’t rain it was really cold. A Christmas to remember. Hope the consultation on the 19th went well. Best wishes Andy and Sidney.

    1. Hello Andy

      So good to hear from you my friend. We should schedule a video call soon.

      I think I mentioned that I plan to travel to the Netherlands for a bike race in May. Given the current status of COVID in European countries and the Canadian Government’s strong position on restricted international travel, I wouldn’t be surprised if that race gets postponed to late August as it did last year.

      Our current plan is that Janet with join me a few days into the race to be present for the finish. My Oncology team is planning to adjust my Chemotherapy Treatment plan to allow for this travel. I’ve started to train for this event but I’m not sure there is enough time to get physically ready so here’s hoping. With that said, my friend Steven Teal from Washington, DC is my partner for this event and he’s more interested in a tour of the Netherlands than racing to finish before the deadline. I’d like to try to do both. Our plan is to hotel throughout which means we don’t need to carry camping gear and can split the rest of our kit to keep the weight pretty light on our bikes.

      I’m thinking I’d like to use this trip as a chance to visit friends in Europe and you folks, and other friends, in the UK. I will keep you in the loop as we get our plans in place.

      All the best my friend. So glad to have you as a support pillar in my live.

      Love from the other side of the Big Pond, Phil

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