Bill’s Story

Site created on September 10, 2018

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Journal entry by Stephanie Potter

I know, state the obvious, right? But it is so hard that it is worth the statement, even though words can't possibly express how hard it really is. There is so much that you don't realize until you are engulfed in dealing with everything that comes with cancer. It is physically exhausting and mentally draining, and that mental fatigue affects both the cancer patient and the family who so desperately seek to help the person they love. 

Dad started chemo. Specifically, carboplatin and etoposide. Until Dad's diagnosis, I didn't know there were different types of chemotherapy. It always just carried that air of certainty - everyone knows what chemo is, but much fewer people really KNOW what chemo is. It's just what you do when someone has cancer. 

Dad's chemo treatment has had ups and downs, quite literally. His white blood cell and neutrophil counts were extremely low. Low was to be expected. Extremely low was concerning as exposure to any type of sickness could be catastrophic for him. We visited him during the week. While we are all healthy, I took extra precautions, washing the kids to the elbows, changing them from their school clothes to clean clothes, leaving their shoes on the porch, and sanitizing their hands as soon as we got there. Even though we weren't sick, we wore masks much of the time, if for no other reason than to improve my sisters' peace of mind. We had dinner together, and chatted about a cancer conference in Vegas I'll be attending on Dad's behalf to learn as much as I can about neuroendocrine cancer. 

His white blood cell count came up, which was a relief in many ways. It was so low that his next treatment was at risk of being postponed. The number, though still low, has crept up, but then his red blood cell count went down. This resulted in another visit to Huntsman, this time for a blood transfusion. 

To add insult to injury, Big Bill, who has always had a head of thick dark hair, is losing his hair in clumps. Again, to be expected with cancer, but yet another thing stacked onto his already heavily weighted shoulders. 

There is talk amongst the men in the family of doing a shave night for Big Bill for anyone that wants to participate, in case anyone is looking for the perfect new fall haircut. 
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