So, today was Day 8 of Hodgegirl’s Chemo #6. And while blood counts are not low enough to merit a blood transfusion, it’s expected to drop lower due to more chemotherapy today.

Around this time, we also usually receive her dose of Neulasta in the mail. This shot boosts her white blood counts by stimulating her bone marrow to produce more cells. And over the last five chemo cycles, the process of automatically refilling the prescription and having it delivered worked pretty much like clockwork. This time, however, due to some mix-up with insurance or something about the person in charge being already away for the holidays, the Neulasta didn’t arrive…and it doesn’t look like it’s arriving anytime soon. What is one to do?

If we’d been back in the Philippines, it would’ve been easy to concoct some traditional herbal remedies. Among people with dengue, there are numerous testimonies of papaya, tawa-tawa (euphorbia hirta), or malunggay (moringa) to improve blood counts. I don’t know exactly how or why they help but I do know that when we tried them last year, we had Ri’s platelets go up to more than 400 within a cycle.

First thing we did was get clearance from our oncologist to take the herbal tea if we manage to find it. Luckily, we have a very supportive doctor and he said he doesn’t see anything wrong with it especially since we don’t have the Neulasta and Thanksgiving holidays are coming up.

So, just as I was racking my brain on how to get hold of any of those leaves, I suddenly remembered one of my friends who mentioned and showed me (just a couple of weeks ago) papaya plants in their backyard. In desperation, I asked if I could stop by their house to get some leaves. As luck would have it, one of them was working from home and said I could come over.

You can guess the rest from there. I got my leaves, made the tea, and two days later, Ri’s bloodcounts were going up. I believe it’s one of those things that have been providential to us.


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