Last year for Christmas I spent a lot of time running around to medical appointments and getting biopsies done. This year has been a little different.
Two days after my fantastic birthday party I had my second cycle of chemo. Now that I know to stay on my low dose steroid, the primary side effect was joint pain and it was easy to control with Tylenol.
On Monday of the second week of December I was in for abdominal and head CT scans to see if the first couple rounds of chemo were having any effect. A
Tuesday was chemo cycle #3. Things were going well and the following weekend I popped to Vancouver to deliver a few gifts and meet the latest baby born amongst my circle of friends……such a cutie.
I started getting a scratchy throat but didn’t think much of it as I had gotten a scratchy throat for both of the first 2 rounds as well. I had to return to Victoria on Wednesday evening for an appointment with my oncologist Thursday morning.
On Thursday morning just before Ian left for work he told me that I felt rather warm. I didn’t feel 100% but I didn’t feel too bad. Just before I left for my appointment I took my temperature…….uh oh…..38.5 C. I can’t remember what temperature I was supposed to start panicking at but I figured I would notified the nurse when I arrived at the Cancer Agency.
As I was checking in for my appointment I saw my onc and told her I had a fever. She immediately called a nurse over to put me in a room and check my vitals. My heart rate was 145 and my temp was 38.2 C. I was put in another room with a more comfy lounging chair and I waited for my onc.
When my onc came in she told me that I would be moved over to the clinic nearby and I would get my bloodwork done and I would be given some IV fluids. They would monitor my temp and I may get admitted. Ugh. We also went over my CT results. The lesion on my skull is showing signs of shrinking as is the spot on my lung….. I guess that means it isn’t radiation scarring. And the met on my rib continues to show signs of healing. Maybe it will go away completely some day. All in all it appears that the chemo is doing its thing.
After my appointment I was moved to a bed in the clinic area. My temp was checked again and it was up to 39.2 C. Next was bloodwork including bloood cultures then I was sent to radiology for a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. Once back in my bed an IV was put in and saline was pumped into me.
After a while a clinic doc came in and told me that I was going to be admitted and I would get some IV antibiotics. Hopefully I would get to go home in 2 days. Ugh again. Ian came from work to see me around then and I sent him home to check on the pets.
Eventually I was moved to the oncology ward at the Royal Jubilee. The Cancer Agency sits on the grounds of the Jub and there is a convenient tunnel connecting the facilities making movement of patients pretty easy. I had been very unenthusiastic about getting admitted but I ended up in a private room since I was on reverse isolation…….that means everyone has to mask and glove up to protect me instead of masking and gloving to protect themselves from what ever nastiness I have……and I even had free TV for a couple days. The previous patient had been planning to be in hospital longer and had payed in advance for the TV. A nice little Christmas present.
Once I was comfy in my room the IV antibiotics were run and then it was more saline. In the evening I was told that so far my blood cultures were negative so they were going to switch me to oral antibiotics. No surprise about the negative results so far as I felt like I had a cold not something bacterial.
Friday was pretty dull and involved a lot of switching between all the major news channels. Regular daytime TV is so boring. The big excitement was the 5 times a nurse came in to give me pills. I was on 2 different antibiotics, 1 twice a day and the other 3 times a day so they were all at different times. And there were the meals…..the food was actually not too bad but I wasn’t overly hungry. I was also paranoid that if I didn’t eat enough they would keep me in hospital longer. Such struggles.
On Saturday I was told that if my blood culture results came back negative I could go home if I wanted. If I preferred it, I could also stay until Monday. Hmmmm……I think I will pick the going home option. Eventually we heard my cultures were negative so my discharge orders were written and I was given prescriptions for my antibiotics.
After 3 unexpected days away it was so nice to be home again. I never did get all my Christmas decorating done but there were some lights and the tree was up. Good enough.
Ian was off the week before Christmas and then his mum, sister, and brother-in-law came to visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had the full turkey dinner Christmas day with my parents also in attendance. It was a nice little holiday.
I was supposed to have chemo #4 on December 28th but due to my little hospital visit it has been pushed a week to January. Also, because of my low neutrophil count I am going to get Neupogen shots after each of my cycles. Neupogen stimulates the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils so the risk of infection is decreased. I have heard that bone pain is the most common side effect. Joy. That will go well with the joint pain.
Next up is a quick trip to Winnipeg for a wedding. I sure hope the mild winter weather continues. And I think my New Year’s resolution will be to not get admitted to hospital after that trip.
Happy New Year, everyone!