Posted on September 13, 2016
Sunday, Aug 21st
Stayed up ‘til sunrise for the next 2 nights with anxiety in anticipation of the checking back into a hospital for the next phase of chemo.
In the previous week, I was told I’d be checking into City of Hope either Monday or Tuesday. I called admissions Monday afternoon to check the status of my check-in and was told they’d reach out when a room is ready. When I got the call at 7pm for an 8pm check-in, I explained I couldn’t physically be in Duarte, CA in an hour from WeHo. The next day I would have to wait all over again for the call. 1st come-1st serve wait for rooms on a daily basis.
Not knowing what’s planned for the next day seems to be the standard for cancer treatment. I have quickly had to learn to accept the uncertainty of what’s ahead and go with the flow to avoid frustrations.
Tuesday, Aug 23rd
Checked into City Of Hope hospital for what’s expected to be at least 2 months for my ‘induction’ (middle phase) chemo treatment, ‘conditioning’ chemo and radiation to prep me for my stem cell bone marrow transplant from my sister, Jen, and finally recovery. This may hopefully be the end of the road.
Got my Picc Line put back in my other arm this time. This is 2 tubes that go from my bicep into my heart. It’s convenient to avoid the needle prick every other day for blood tests, but opens the patient up to risk of infection. I wasn’t lucent the 1st time this was put due to the days of morphine I received when I originally checked into Cedars.
Wednesday, Aug 24th
Started the day with the usually blood draws for testing and what feels like hourly vitals (temp, blood pressure, weight) being taken.
Then the chemo starts. The regiment was; 2 hours, then 22 hours and another 2 hours again to end. Getting chemo via IV is easy. The harsh effects are delayed by 3-5 days.
Thursday, Aug 25th
I enjoy that the hospital has a social hour for patients where we played card games and would intermittently talk to each other about our diagnosis’s, prognosis’s and roads ahead. It was comforting to talk to people of similar age that had just gone through what I’m about to tackle or were a few weeks ahead of me so I could see there health condition.
Friday, Aug 26th - Saturday, Aug 27th
A fever kicked in, which is a natural side effect of this particular chemo. Nurse takes a blood draw from the other arm to test and ensure the fever is not from an infection in the picc line on the other arm.
This fever reached 105 multiple times and could only be quenched with a combination of Tylenol, ice bags packed in my crotch, armpits and around my neck and setting my room in the 60’s. Along with the fever I experienced my first bout of nausea from chemo therapy. Two days of puking, fever and not eating was dizzying. #ModelMondaysright?
As a side effect of the fever, I seemed to have ‘burned’ my leg muscles with an abundance of lactic acid and cannot stand for more than enough time to go #1. At this time extreme pain and burning ensue and I must sit immediately, even if it’s on the floor.
Monday, Aug 29th
It’s a new week with no fever or sickness and I’m just glad to have last weekend over. It wasn’t that bad and I’m hungry again after not eating (except for protein shakes) for a few days.
Met with the doctor and he surprised me with the news that I’d be going home in the next couple days for a short time only to return for the last phase of treatment, ‘conditioning.’ This wasn’t how I thought it would play out, but I’m not upset at having to go home. I am worried about my inability to stand issue, but am confident I can work this out with stretching, bed exercises and hanging my legs one at a time off the bed to work through it.
I expect to have the stem cell BMT transplant roughly around October 1st. ‘Conditioning’ is 12 days so I figure I’m checking back in on roughly Sept 18th.
Tuesday, Aug 30th
Got out and headed home to the Sunset Strip!
I have to flush my picc line daily to keep it clean and come back into the hospital every other day for blood draws, tests and consultations. I feel like a nurse.
Wednesday, Aug 31st
Got to sleep in an entire night (8 hours) with no interruptions from staff taking vitals on me throughout the night
Thursday, Sept 1st
Had my in home care specialist (nurse) scheduled for today to assist on my 1st flushing of the line and review home care. I was disappointed when an old Russian guy came to my door.
Tuesday, Sept 6th
Slept in and still woke up more tired than usual. Took my temperature, which registered at 101.9. Drove into COH with Anne and they informed me they’d be keeping me for a couple days until tests came back.
Bone pain from Nupogen (shot that boosts blood counts) caused severe bone pain. Felt like a chain saw to my pelvis, hips and femurs. They had to knock me out with pain killers at my request.
Sunday, Sept 11th
Got out of COH on Thursday and have been very fatigued for a couple days and laying low to avoid another fever or infection while I’m neutropenic (low blood counts).
Monday, Sept 12th?
Day trip to City of Hope to meet with Dr. Forman. The day to check back in has been pushed due to the mild cold that caused my fever and my legs not being 100%.
After finishing up with my appointments I went to visit Jenny who was finishing up 6 hours harvesting her stem cells by continuously taking blood from one arm and return her blood (minus stem cells) in the other arm. Thank you Jen