including st on needle after cast off

The pattern says to knit in pat 55 sts "including st on needle after cast off, There are 6 sts on cast off needle. SO, do I count the 6 sts in the 55, or is it 55, plus the 6. I’m a beginning intermediate knitter and have been working on this pattern for weeks. Definitely challenging my skill level!

Welcome to the forum!
What pattern are you following? Give us a link or a pattern name please.
It probably doesn’t matter how many sts are on the cast off needle. All the pattern is concerned with is the single stitch left on the right needle after the cast off. If there are other sts before the cast off, ignore them for the moment.
The instructions want to make sure that you knit in pattern 54sts which, plus the single stitch leftover from the cast off will make 55sts.

Patons Cables and Hearts Dog Sweater. Makes sense to me to ignore the cast off sts, and when I do both sides are even for the leg holes. Thank you for your help!

Very nice pattern. Thanks for the name and enjoy making it.