We're halfway through a good news/bad news week.
My son and I completed our first belt test last Friday and we now sport our fashionable yellow belts (good news). Several days later I am still sore, but it was another fun memory moment, and now I feel like I have a big "Livestrong" bracelet around my waist. The karate test felt like the ultimate neuro test, which was reassuring. My son also feels like he accomplished something big. Now - carefully - we are moving on to the orange level.
Our refrigerator/freezer died this weekend (bad news), but on Monday we found a really nice new one on sale, making it affordable to replace both the appliance and all the food that we had to throw out (good news). And to make it even more fun, we got a new refrigerator/freezer BOX! My kids think our home is Disneyworld now, as they transform the huge box into a play house, a tunnel, a castle -- you name it.
My daughter's second birthday is today. In addition to the BOX, which she probably thinks came in her honor, she has some little boxes and packages of gifts to open later today. That's all good news.
My labwork this week had mixed results. This time my white blood cell count has increased to the "borderline normal" range (good news) but it might simply be my body fighting infection already (wouldn't be so good news). So I still have to be careful to avoid getting sick. And my platelet count is also too low. That's not good news. Now I have different precautions to take to avoid bleeding and bruising (as in, no karate class today - bad news - but more time to spend with our daughter on her birthday - good news). It also means that I need a really big rebound, really fast.
When my white cell count was a little low they would still proceed with the Avastin infusion, and I would only risk missing out on the Carboplatin infusion, which is added every other time. But I always rebounded in time, so I haven't had any interruption of this treatment protocol. It was comforting to know that there was a possibility of at least getting some chemotherapy. However, because Avastin puts me at higher risk for bleeding they will suspend all treatment if my platelet count is too low. This is the "between a rock and a rock" situation again, where I am really feeling boxed in. I feel like I'm in an old western movie, where I've just walked into a saloon and the bar-keep says, "choose yer poison" (infection, brain hemorrhage, or untreated tumor running amok).
I'm going in for more labwork on Friday, in the hopes of getting a better result in time for Tuesday's scheduled infusion.
Meanwhile, the good news is that I have learned much from experience. I have learned from experience that things are not always what they seem. My perspective is pretty boxed-in, because I don't have the advantage of knowing how this story will unfold, and what is planned for me. As I pondered my situation I remembered all the times when I had the rebound I needed, right when I needed it. I remembered all the people who let me know I was in their prayers. I remembered my doctor's comment about maybe someday down the road, wondering how long I would even need Avastin treatment, if my MRI's keep looking like they did last time. (Not that we would want to discontinue it prematurely, but surely things would be more dire if the last scan didn't look so good.)
Things may be just fine. Setbacks don't have to mean that I'm destined for the "final box" (the one they bury six-feet deep) anytime soon. They just call for more caution and prayer. Meanwhile, there are many possibilities that lie beyond the box of our limited understanding, and those possibilities are usually good news.