• Nathira Salim

Doctor Consultations

Welcome back to my blog.


Is it me, or is it the doctors really? Every time I am visiting my doctor for my pre chemo consult, I feel that whatever I say to her doesn't really matter to my doctor.


For example, I was told to let my doctor know, if there are any side effects and other ailments I have after chemo. I am supposed to list it down and consult about this to the doctor. Usually, the day before my chemo appointment, I will have my blood drawn to do a couple of tests. The tests are ( as per the appointment slip in my hand) - FBC, Cr, LFT.


FBC - Full Blood count.

This is to count the blood cells in the blood taken. They count the white blood cells, the red blood cells and the platelets. They also count the haemoglobin levels in the cells, meaning if there is enough oxygen in my blood. If there's an issue here, I will not be able to go for my chemo, or the dosage will be adjusted accordingly.


LFT - Liver Function Test.

As per the name, it basically checks how your liver or my liver is working. Do you know what the liver does? I don't. So I made a check and this is what the google says - "The liver helps clean your blood, makes blood clotting factors, protein and enzyme, store vitamins and mineral and makes bile." (Most of it I am not understanding - but will move on.)

This tests are looked at to see how healthy the liver is, any cause of illness, and how serious the illness is. There are many tests done within this scope of test as well.


Cr

Ok this I don't exactly know. The nearest relatable article that I did manage to find here mentions this as a form of a kidney test.

Its called a creatinine blood test that measures the level of creatinine in the blood. What is creatinine? It is a waste product that is formed when creatine, which is found in my muscle breaks down. Note - both the "Creats" are different. One is a Creatinine and the other is a Creatine. This creatinine levels in my blood can provide the doctor with the information about how well my kidneys are working or not.


Now that you know what the blood tests are for, lets move on. Once I have generously given my blood, about two hours or so later we will be called in to consult with the doctor. The doc will start asking how I have been the past three weeks, what are the side effects I have so far and will discuss the next chemo action plan. I notice though that when I report my side effects, she will brush it aside saying that this is normal. The following is sort of how my typical consult looks like:


Me: My gums and teeth are ultra sensitive nowadays, Its hard to even drink a cup of tea.

Doc: Oh this is normal. It will go away after the treament is over.


Me: My fatigue is dragging past the 7 days. I feel tired all the day now.

Doc: Oh this is normal. It will go away after the treatment is over.

Fact: Fatigue lasts couple of years after the treatment


Me: My body aches and I can't seem to lift my arms.

Doc: Oh this is normal. It will go away after the treatment is over.


My Imagination:

Me: My third eye on my forehead has suddenly been opened and I have a blue eye!

Doc: Oh this is normal. It will go away after the treatment is over.


Goodness if everything I say is normal why do I have to report it then? I usually keep my consults pretty short, but if my husband was around, he will keep reminding to tell her about so and so that happened and I will report it half heartedly for which I know what her reply will be. She doesn't even look at me when she talks, She will be looking over at her computer screen to check out her notes and see if she's got the details correct. Talk about a very attentive doctor.


So anyways, this consult with her went about the same yesterday.

(Please note that when this post is published, I am way past my 2nd taxol.)

Since I was about to start on a new drug, the process and the side effects would vary she said and this time it will take around two hours plus to administer this drug. So I was told to be prepared. The side effects would be the same but the nausea and tummy issues will be at a minimum.


She also dropped a mini bomb saying that my LFC was off the charts. One of the test in particular reports a high level in the result. Actually double the standard readings she said. But she didn't actually mention the exact name of the test nor did I remember. She asked if I was taking any other supplements or something new, I said no. So as a result, I will have to donate my blood every week for the next four weeks and I will not be seeing the doc till then.


I was worried actually. Does that mean I have some issues with my liver? Were there any tumours in my liver? Will I have liver cancer? Will my liver be dissected and I have to go for more surgeries again? I know the supplements to heal the liver, but I am not allowed to go for any herbal supplements till the treatment is over. I am thinking maybe I should take milk thistle tea instead. Will check with the doc if that is allowed. Anyone knows any thing about the liver and what will keep it normal?


References:

https://www.oncolink.org/cancer-treatment/procedures-diagnostic-tests/blood-tests-tumor-diagnostic-tests/liver-function-test-lft


https://healthengine.com.au/info/full-blood-count-fbc-full-blood-test-or-complete-blood-count-cbc


https://www.healthline.com/health/creatinine-blood


Update on 30 Jan 2021

Just an interesting update. I found out during chemo, that my doc was not so popular at all among the chemo staff. So it wasn't just me.

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