Saturday, September 27, 2008

Christmas in the Emergency Room??? NO WAY!!

MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2005 03:02 PM

Merry Christmas Everyone!! As you can see we have upgraded to medical masks.

Keeping our distance from my family.

I am especially thankful for the Christmas I had and I have a good story why. Hope everyone had a great holiday. There are so many people I wish I could see right now, but I am afraid I won’t be seeing many people until April. It’s a long story.

I’ll start from the trip home. Well, we brought Chloe with us to Michigan. I brought her on my flight. My connecting flight in Chicago was delayed and then cancelled. We had to change planes. I was supposed to get to Michigan at 8:30 and didn’t arrive until 11:30. That wasn’t good since I was trying to avoid people. My friend's Michele and Tim were with me on the first flight (going home to Michigan as well) and they could sense my tension. I started getting sick the next morning and by that night I had developed a 101.6 fever. I felt horrible.
The next morning I though I broke my fever, but it came back by mid day and wouldn’t go away. My mom and I decided to go to the walk in clinic and get my blood work done to see if I was sick or were at risk of having any kind of infection. I had completely bottomed out on my white blood count. It was 1.8 again, but what matters is your neutrophil count which was .05. They pretty much said I had no white blood cells to fight infection and told me I should be hospitalized, put into isolation, on IV antibiotics for at least two days. This was at 11:00pm the night before Christmas Eve. I was horrified thinking I would be all alone at the hospital until Christmas was completely over. Believe me, I fought them, but they acted like it was a matter of life and death. I always think I am right and I didn't think it was that serious. They put me on IV antibiotics right there for a couple hours, which wasn’t easy. They had to try 5 times to get the IV in my arm (I have bruises everywhere). I guess my veins are damaged from the Chemo. It was no fun at all.

We reasoned with them and said we would go to UofM hospital and get the opinion of an oncologist there. My dad and Kevin drove me out there. We saw a doctor there who ran more tests on me and checked all my vitals. I like seeing doctors who work with oncology more because they are used to seeing such low blood counts and don’t get you scared for your life like regular doctors seem to. The UofM doctor said I would be fine to go home and monitor myself. I couldn’t be around any sick people, crowds, and if I ran another fever, I would have to go back into the hospital. Kevin drove me to stay at his parent’s house (because my brother had a little cold). We didn’t get home from the hospital until 7:00am.

Here’s where the good news starts. I went to my dad’s for Christmas Eve. (Tired as hell, but didn't care) We stayed far away from everyone and wore hospital masks all day. Some of my family wore masks as well to make me feel better. Our visit was much shorter than usual, and I had to take a nap (my red blood cell count is very low too which makes me very tired). We still got to keep most of our plans for Christmas day as well, but the masks stayed on and the visits were short. I got a little scare and ran a temperature last night. We immediately went into sick mode, laid me down and did everything to break the fever, which we did. I think my white blood count should be going up by now.

Through the rest of my treatment, I cannot go out in public. This is where we will be calling on all those favors of friends now (Glad we took Rain checks). Kevin cannot take care of me, work, and get everything done in the house. We will need grocery shoppers, movie store runners, dinner makers, etc… I hate this more than you can imagine. I cannot stand isolating myself and asking for so many favors. As long as my blood count pretty much bottoms out, my life will be in danger if I catch a cold or anything. We will be having the biggest celebration with everyone once I am through with Chemo.

So this entry is bitter sweet, but more sweet. I had a horrible night at the emergency room, and a big scare. BUT, more importantly, I got to see (and not touch) my family for Christmas. I got to be there when they opened our presents which meant so much to me. I was at the top of the stairs, but at least I was there. Next Christmas will be much better. I also learned how seriously Chemo is affecting my body. I know I will be a lot smarter now about the things I do through treatment. If I have to stay in my house or out in the fresh air (in Texas) to stay out of the hospital, then so be it. By April I should be free. I am mostly grateful, that I didn’t get really sick or develop an infection while I had no white blood cells. I could have been in Michigan longer than I intended and in the hospital the whole time.

I guess I am still supposed to get Chemo on Thursday at Uof M. We’ll see if the Neulasta shot has worked by then. I was told my blood count will be on a rollercoaster until this is over. It will bottom out one week, and then be right back to normal (from the Neulasta shot) so I can get Chemo again. It’s scheduled for this Thursday. My dad is going to take me. I’ll let you know if for some reason we don’t go ahead with it.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. I miss everyone in Texas and in Michigan. Sorry I can’t see everyone, but you are all invited to our celebration after my Chemotherapy.

Take care

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