Remember that post about going with the flow?
Saturday morning I got up and took my Australian Shepherd, Madison for a walk. Exercise and the cancer patient is important. Not to mention if you don’t get an Aussie outside all that pent up energy unloads in the house!! So off we go, just a little walk around the neighborhood. I noticed immediately that I had to slow my pace. Shortness of breath. Nothing extraordinarily out of ordinary these days. I mentioned it recently to a nurse who had called to check on me earlier in the week. My fatigue has been quite bad and I mentioned with the fatigue I’d been having shortness of breath. Anyhow, Madison and I managed a leisurely 1.5 mile walk around the neighborhood. It wiped me out. Again, not unusual. So I rested.
Alfred came home and we decided to go have an early dinner. A little hot pot place. Mmmmm noodles. Halfway through dinner I started feeling quite bad. Lightheaded, dizzy and a little short of breath. Off we head, back home. I decided to lay down for the ride as sitting up made me terribly dizzy.
Once home I immediately climbed back into bed. I noticed I was chilled so I took my blood pressure. A bit low. Again. Up go the legs and in goes fluids. I covered up but just couldn’t get warm. So I took myself into a nice warm bath, fluids in tow. Ahhhh finally warm. That worked! Eventually I made my way back to bed. Eventually I felt chilled again. 🙄 Then I noticed the body aches. SHIT. No no no. Not what I need dammit! Out comes the thermometer. In the world of the cancer patient 100.5 is a fever. So now I have a fever. Maybe too warm from the bath? Recheck my blood pressure and pulse. Blood pressure is 86/54 and pulse is hopping along at 123. Not good. Not good at all. Recheck temp. Shit, shit, shit.
So I call the on-call. Nurse calls me and I share what’s going on. After a call to the MD it’s decided we are to monitor my temp for 2 hours. This is at 8:30pm. So we watch a movie, rechecking my temp every 30 minutes or so. Temp gets up to 101.9. Finally at 10:25pm one last temp check. Sigh. I get up and pack a hospital bag. Nurse calls and after hearing that my fever is still present and that I’m feeling worse than earlier-we are sent to Orlando Health to be directly admitted.
Did you know it’s March Madness? That Orlando Health is smack downtown not far from a very busy area where people like to hang out and celebrate things like March Madness?
When we finally got to the hospital it 11:30. Alfred was unable to drop me right at the entrance. All blocked off. Parking garage is across the street. What the hell? By the time we get in, get through security and get to the oncology floor, it’s midnight.
You have to know, like all things in life, my temp came down below 100 with the first set of vitals. When the doc saw me later, he said “happens all the time!” Many vials of blood later, IV fluids pumping, I sent Alfred home to sleep and take care of my Maddie.
So there I am. Back in the damn hospital. No idea why I’m feeling so poorly. Off to X-ray at 2am zzzzzzzzz. I think I slept from 3-7am.
Oncologist comes to me later in the morning to check me over. She and I discuss low white counts bringing on fever. She mentions my X-ray is suggestive of pneumonia and that the antibiotics they started me on will take care of that. Ok. A diagnosis. But how on earth?? She mentions that in 10 years of practice, I’m only the 3rd Metaplastic Breast Cancer patient she’s seen. Oh that rare cancer, how I hate thee. She leaves and I access my patient portal and check out my X-ray results. CT RECOMMENDED TO CONFIRM PNEUMONIA.
See here’s the thing about being a cancer patient. A chest X-ray that’s ambiguous like that immediately causes the brain to think “the cancer had spread” which it can do even during treatment. So I ask my nurse to see if a CT can be obtained because while yes I’m sick I don’t feel like it’s pneumonia.
Now I’m waiting. Waiting for a CT. Waiting to see what’s going on. On 4 hours of sleep. I send my X-ray results to my RN daughter who immediately calls me. She listens as I’m crying, explaining my concern, my fear. Lack of sleep and feeling like crap leaves me vulnerable. I’m coming momma, I’ll be there soon. I wipe my tears and focus my energy into a coloring book. I would’ve killed for art supplies right then.
So she comes. We talk about IT. My fear. What I would do if its spread. We nibble on some snacks. Lunch comes. Well, what was trying to pass for food. No thanks. In comes the nurse. Time for a CT! Except wait…I’ve eaten. Now we have to wait two more hours. Alfred comes in and we all sit and visit, passing the time.
After my CT is complete, I’m starving. By this time dinner arrives. Thank goodness for chicken noodle soup.
CT results indicate basically that my lungs aren’t inflating fully (early onset pneumonia???) and there are no masses. No evidence suggesting cancer in the lungs. Thank goodness my portal popped up my results quickly. In comes the nurse with my spirometer and more antibiotics.
I really hate this life called Cancer Patient. Where everything is suspect and frightening. It doesn’t go away when treatment ends. Survivor’s know the fear never goes away.
What if it had metastasized to lung? My plan of care would change and more treatment. Surgeries. Would you get the treatment mom? We know it’s hard. Yes. Yes because I want to hold a grandchild. Yes because I want to see Redwood trees again and listen to the Pacific crash against the cliffs and bring me happiness that only nature does. Yes because I’m fighting until. Until it’s time not to.
So here I sit back in the hospital. Breathing exercises, treatments and wishing desperately for a nice hot cup of English tea.
As always #FuckCancer