As some of you know already I had a week long hospital stay back at the end of September beginning of October. Life has been really chaotic ever since so I haven't really had time to update you guys and tell the story....things are finally getting back to "normal" so here I go....
A few weeks prior I had developed an odd "cough".....that was my only symptom and it was really only when I would get up first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night to take the dogs outside that I would have a coughing fit whenever I would breathe in....but then once I was up I would be totally fine.
Well I had my 2nd to last round of chemo on Thursday Sept 17th. Well the next weekend my "cough" started to get worse and that Sunday we went to see a Texans game in Houston and we had to walk a pretty good distance and then up a bunch of stairs to get to our seat. I was so out of breath by the time I got to my seat I gasping for air and it took a good 5 minutes for me to be able to breathe normally again....but then I was fine for the rest of the day.
That night when I got up to take the dogs out I had such a horrible coughing fit I knew I better call my doctor in the morning....but I still was having no other symptoms...I felt perfectly fine. That next morning (Monday) I was pretty tired which I thought was just because we had a really long day the day before and I slept most of the day......I called my doctors office that afternoon and they said that they were going to schedule me for a pulmonary evaluation at the main campus for that week to see what was going on. Pretty much as soon as I hung up the phone with Eugene (nurse) I decided to take my temperature just out of curiousity because I was still feeling pretty sluggish....it was 101.7. So I called Eugene back and he told me that I needed to go ahead and go to the E.R. @ MD Anderson (main campus).
On the way there my temp kept climbing and got up to 103........but then went back down to the low 100's by the time I got there.
I got to the hospital...they took blood and a chest x-ray and all that jazz and decided to admit me. Pretty quickly I was in a room but still in the E.R. My parents were both with me and it felt like it took FOREVER to get into my own room. My eventually convinced my parents that it was ok for them to go ahead and go home for the night and shortly after they left I was brought to a room and settled in.
My breathing kept getting worse.....primarily when I would stand up or walk any distance......even just from my bed to the restroom would make me go into a horrible coughing fit.
By Tuesday evening I was on like 9 different medicines and still getting worse....I was being seen by the pulmonary doctors, the infectious disease doctors, plus whichever doctor (oncologist) was working at the hospital and also my doctor. Everyone had different ideas as to what was wrong with me.......bacterial, viral, fungal.......so like I said I was on a billion different medicines. Of course they were checking my vitals regularly and also taking chest x-rays at least once a day.........which was worse each time they took it.
It got to the point that I had to have oxygen whenever I would go to the bathroom......and then it got so bad that I had to just use a bedside potty (probably TMI I know but its the truth..LOL).
At one point when they came in to check my vitals my oxygen level was only 80 something so the nurse decided to put an oxygen / heart rate monitor on me so they would know any time it dropped below 90. My heart rate was also staying really high the whole time.
So I think it was Wednesday they had me do a bronchoscopy to see if they could figure out what exactly was going on (bacterial / fungal / or viral).
Well after the bronchoscopy I got WAY worse and was on oxygen full time...having coughing fits even when while just laying in bed....and when I would get up to go to the restroom my oxygen level would drop down to like 70.....my blood pressure also starting dropping pretty low.
So Thursday they decided that I needed to go to ICU. My x-rays were still horrible, breathing (or lack of) getting worse, temperature still staying high etc.
I want to stop here and tell you guys about "Dr Doom & Gloom" as I call him. Michael had left Thursday morning to go get me some clothes from my parents house and other stuff because when we left Monday night I didnt bring anything with me other than my purse. While he was gone I started to decline pretty fast and wasnt breathing good at all even ON oxygen. So they brought in this guy who hooks up up to this machine and evaluates you and determines whether you need to go to ICU or not. Also, the oncologist that was working that day was there. They were talking to each other in my room and looking at my x-ray.....comparing it to my previous x-rays.
So here I am...trying to breathe.....by myself (excluding the doctors).....trying not to panic at the fact that they are talking about moving me to ICU.
Then Dr Doom & Gloom starts telling the other guy "Oh my GOD her x-ray is WAY worse. I mean there is NOTHING else we can do for her ... we are already giving her antibiotics for everything"
Umm what the heck???? Who DOES that??? I am sitting right there already hyperventalating...LOL So they determine I am going to ICU the guy with the machine leaves ...... Dr Doom & Gloom calls Michael to tell him the situation.....and then procedes to tell me that they are going to put me on a BiPAP machine that night in ICU and if that doesn't help I will have to be put on "life support".......
This is why I started calling him Dr Doom & Gloom....LOL
I want to take this moment to tell you guys that other than like 2 of them the nurses that took care of me while I was there were sooooo great!! Especially the one that was there when they moved me to ICU. She gave me a big hug and tried her best to assure me everything was going to be just fine!
I get settled in in ICU and by this time I was having these HORRIBLE chest spasms every 3 minutes (I started timing it...LOL)....it hurt sooo bad and those stupid spasms - although they got better - didn't completely go away until like 2 weeks ago or something...ugh.
My family drove up there and were with me in my room but I couldn't even talk without coughing or being out of breath so I was having to communicate with a notepad and pen...apparently my doctor told them even though it would be hard to not let me talk very much...hahaha
Anyways, they brought in the BiPAP machine which is: "bilevel positive airway pressure machine". From what I know its usually used for people with sleep apnea. It's a mask that covers your nose and mouth and increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in. It was NOT pleasant....they had to give me a sedative (which is common) because I was panicing....it feels like your are suffocating at first. I had it on all night and slept like a baby once the sedative kicked in...LOL.
I want to mention here that my doctor was so great through all of this. He was in constant contact with Michael and my parents and kept everybody calm and informed.......and on the night I was admitted into ICU he was there by my bedside helping me to not have a serious panic attack...LOL But yes I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful doctor.
The next day (Friday) I was definitely breathing better. The bronchoscopy was still inconclusive so I was still on a ton of meds but I was starting to feel a bit better for sure. I do remember them taking my blood sugar multiple times a day and having to give me insulin shots almost every time....apparently steroids can raise your blood sugar. They also had to put in an "A line" so they could get blood and not have to try and stick me every time because I am near impossible to get blood from or get an IV going etc....apparently I have "tiny" viens. That was a horrible process......they had to stick me about 20 times before they got it going and both of my wrists were black and blue from it.
I think it was Saturday they had me get out of bed and sit in a chair for a while and I realized that my legs / feet were swelling pretty bad.....but apparently that is normal due to all the steroids I was on and all the other fluids....plus the fact that I was laying in bed for like 5 days straight.
That day I also was able to take my oxygen off and was able to breathe pretty normal without it :) My fever was staying down and my oxygen levels were staying up :)
By sunday I was doing GREAT and they moved me back to a regular room!!!
All the doctors and respiratory therapist that had been seeing me were all acting amazed at what a turn around I had made and I was ecstatic to be able to go to the restroom without gasping for air for 10 minutes.........I also was FINALLY able to take a shower.........I swear that was the best shower of my LIFE!!! LOL Stacey had made me a basket with all kinds of goodies in it including a bar of organic soap which was perfect for that day :)
The only "bad" thing was I was sooooooooo swollen I could barely move!!!!!!!!! But compared to everything else that had happened that was nothing!
Monday afternoon I finally got to go home with multiple anitibiotics plus some steroids that I took for about 10 days! My breathing was good...I was barely coughing! But man, I was so swollen I was miserable!! I went to my doctor for a check up about a week later and he put me on some meds for the swelling.......in 2 days I lost 16lbs!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you imagine??? No wonder I felt like I was waddling not walking...hahaha
Basically the test never showed for sure what it was exactly that I had..........all I know is I had double pneumonia.....my doctor says he is almost positive it was a fungal infection.......but the infectious disease doctors think it was viral or bacterial I can't remember. The important thing is that whatever it was is GONE and I can breathe :)
OH I almost forgot to mention......I was supposed to have my last round of chemo on October 1st.....but with the whole pneumonia situation my doctor said that it really wasn't necessary and at that point would probably be more harmful than beneficial! So I am completely done with treatment....woohooo!!!!!! I didn't get to truly appreciate that until a few weeks ago when I wasn't out of it from being so sick....but man what a great feeling! :)
We were able to go on our vacation to South Padre at the end of October and we had an amazing time! It was a much needed relaxing and fun week with friends!
And for those of you that don't already know on October 28th I turned the big 3 o! Thank God I was alive and well to celebrate it :)
In other recent news I had my first post chemo cancer related check up this past Monday (November 9th). I'm feeling really good....but I did find a small swollen lymph node in one arm pit this past weekend which I told my doctor about. He felt around but could never feel what I was feeling but decided that it would be better safe than sorry and have me go ahead and do a scan to make sure theres nothing to worry about. I go Friday to have my scan and if anything fishy shows up then I will have a PET scan done .... if anything shows up on that then I will have a biopsy to see if the cancer is "back". I'm sure it is nothing but please pray for me in the meantime.
Also, my friend Amanda who also just recently finished chemo for Hodgkins had her first post chemo scan and it was not good....she is having a biopsy done this week I believe :/ Please keep her in your prayers as well!!
I guess that is all for now I will let you guys know how my scan turns out .... Im sure I wont hear anthing until Monday since it is on Friday afternoon.
P.S. Mary if you're reading this I MISS YOU!!!!!!
P.S.S. My hair / eyelashes / and eyebrows are coming back :)