Cancer is a very rude beast. As of writing this I’ve completed my fourth chemotherapy and I’ve been hospitalized four times due to the cancer. As I wrote in my previous blog post, I was hospitalized twice for a blockage in my stomach, and once for a gallbladder blockage. My goal in March was to break my rhythm of being hospitalized once per month. Sadly, cancer was rude and didn’t agree with that.
One thing I didn’t know about cancer is that it isn’t uncommon to get fevers. When I did my first chemo, I was given this great educational package about what to look out for, various contact numbers, diet and lifestyle recommendations, and much more. One of those was a note that if I get a fever to call oncology and let them know.
Well, the week before my fourth chemo, I went to work on Monday and felt heavy chills at work. However, I didn’t think much of it because other people at work said the office was freezing that day so I assumed I was just cold like everyone else. Then I got home. I decided to lay down and a flush of heat rushed to my head. I grabbed my thermometer, and measured an unwelcome 102 degree temperature. Not exactly what you want the day before a big business meeting you’ve been planning two weeks for.
I called the oncology page, gave them all my symptoms, which ironically was only the fever, and was given direction to go to the emergency room. I knew another hospitalization was in my future, and that March was not going to be the month where I’d break my hospital trend.
I visited the emergency room I’ve become more and more familiar with, and was asked if I had a list of symptoms: coughing, sneezing, trouble breathing, rashes, and so many more that I can’t remember. I hadn’t realized it by that point, but they were trying to discover if there was any infection associated with my fever. See, infection for a chemo patient isn’t good. My white blood cell levels are lower than normal because of the chemo medication, so my body can’t fight infections as well as it historically could.
I told them I didn’t have any of those symptoms, only the fever and a sensitivity to light because of the fever. The ER team performed a chest X-ray to see if there was anything in my lungs. It turns out my lungs looked slightly suspect so I was started on antibiotics, but nothing definitive enough to tell.
By the time I was admitted to the hospital, my fever broke and I was on continuous antibiotics. They wanted to run some more tests, and monitor me to make sure my condition didn’t worsen. While there they performed another CT scan in my chest, to get a better picture than what they X ray could show. Well, it turns out there’s a chance my cancer decided to be rude again and spread to one of my lungs. It’s weird hearing news of that nature when you know that you already have cancer in multiple parts of your body. It’s rude of the cancer to do, but I’m under chemo, so everything should work out, right?
I was dismissed from the hospital thankfully without any infection found, only a temporary fever to be had. I was on antibiotics for a week as a precaution, and felt a lot better after leaving the hospital after my 48 hour stay.
The only other recent rude thing I’ve experienced is nausea. Chemo nausea is a jerk. My stomach always feels like it’s churning, but thankfully vomiting has been at a minimum. I only wish my cold sensitivity was as infrequent.