This post want have the usual songs and fluff. I’m writing it on my iPad from my bed. Just the facts ma’am.
Yesterday was supposed to be a momentous occasion as cancer goes. My last chemo treatment. Yay! I had been fighting off a mild bug and low fever since last Saturday but had started feeling better.
I went to the oncology office and started the same as any other trip. Insert the
carpet tack needle in the port. Draw the blood to check white count. The white count was pretty low at 2.1, but chemo was a go.
I picked a room, and there turned out to be a lovely outgoing lady from Boston in there. We chatted for quite a while, enjoying each other’s company. It was really refreshing not to be sharing a room with someone who was dying or going on in depth about their stage 4 recurrence. She laughed easily and heartily. “This is going to be a good session”, I thought to myself.
I got the first infusion, the Benadryl and Pepcid, and settled in. About 10 minutes into it, I started to feel very cold. I asked my son for one blanket, then two. Then the shaking began. I shook uncontrollably and violently for the next 15 minutes. It wasn’t so much from being cold. I felt almost like I was having a mild seizure.
When the nurse came in, she tried to take my temperature and my blood pressure but couldn’t get my trembling body to cooperate. After a few minutes of valiant effort by the nurses, the doctor came in and decided that chemo was definitely not going to happen. He asked them to draw blood cultures, one set from the port in my chest and one from my arm. This was to make sure no bacteria had made its way to my bloodstream. I also had to give a urine specimen to check for a UTI.
The shaking finally subsided after what seemed like an eternity. I had been feeling intuitively iffy about this treatment all week, as though I were pushing my luck and my body was trying to tell me it was done. Talk about a sign. I decided right then and there that this session would have no rain check. My doctor agreed that the benefit of 12 vs 11 treatments was not significant.
i went home briefly as I had my first appointment yesterday afternoon with the integrative MD (More good stuff on that later). I felt like I was getting warmer, so I took my temperature. 102..uh oh. I struggled to the doctor’s office but was able to get through it with ibuprofen.
Once the drugs wore off, the game was on. I went to bed and stayed there all night. I felt extremely hot at around 10 pm. 104.. Not looking good. I had my husband call the doctor on call who was…you guessed it…the guy I broke up with. His advice was to combine Advil with Tylenol to get the fever down. It probably had something to do with my reaction to the Benadryl earlier. Huh? If I couldn’t control the fever, I was to go to the ER.
I thought he was pretty cavalier about the whole thing, but I made it through the night and woke up drenched. The fever had broken, thanks in large part, I suspect, to the two different antibiotics I started yesterday. You should know that I never take antibiotics. I usually stuff the prescription in the bottom of my purse and handle things my own way. Something told me not to do that this time.
Imagine my surprise when I found out this morning that my blood is growing bacteria, most likely E Coli. What!?! Where the hell did that come from?Usually a person becomes septic with E Coli when she has a perforated bowel or a raging UTI. No on both counts. The urine culture was negative. My only explanation is that this bacteria had to have been introduced directly into my bloodstream during one of my various treatments, probably last week.
I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, I’m taking the antibiotics and hoping for the best. My fever has cooperated so far today, but the doctor has put me on a “short leash”. If the fever returns I get to take a trip to the hospital.
i’m tired, but I’ll keep you posted.