“Why worry? If you’ve done the very best you can, worrying won’t make it any better”. –Walt Disney
“A day may come when the courage of men fails…..but it is not this day!”
“Like Sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives.”
My second trip to Philly did not go as well as I had hoped. On my first day of my 2nd chemo treatment in Philly, I was told by my oncologist that the blood work that the center had done on me prior to my seeing him, showed that all of my levels for my liver had gotten worse. In other words, the cancer in my liver was worse than it was on my last visit. Not a good sign. He also said that I was 0.4 away from having Jaundice. His exact quote after that was “I’m going to give you chemo anyway”. Now there is two things about these statements. One is that once you are considered jaundiced they will stop the chemo and no one else will treat me because it would be unethical due to the fact that the chemo didn’t work and there is nothing else anyone can do for me. Two is that the quote I attributed to him tells me he considered not giving me treatment number two. I am dangerously close to the point of no return.
Other than that the week went pretty much as expected (chemo, lack of appetite) until Thursday. Now surprisingly my anxiety level has ramped up since my diagnosis. Go figure, right? I take a drug called Ativan to help ease my anxiety. That particular morning I wasn’t feeling well. Probably partly because I was a little stressed because the previous evening I saw some blood in my colostomy bag (yeah, I’ve got one of those too. Cancer is so much fun). Even though everything was fine the next two times I checked, the damage was already done to my fragile psyche. So that morning I barely ate, hardly drank anything, and decided to take an Ativan before leaving for one last visit to the cancer center for the week. I wasn’t feeling well on the bus ride and just as we approached the entrance to the center I informed my wife that I felt as if I was either going to vomit or pass out. Guess which one I chose? That’s right kiddies, I chose the latter and was out before Brenda could answer me.
Apparently I was out for about 5 minutes. I have blacked out before but never for that long a period. Now this posed an interesting problem for the people at the cancer center as well as myself. We were seated about 6 rows back and I was sitting in the window seat. There was no easy way to get me off the bus as I was being uncooperative by being unconscious and not able to remove myself. I came two a couple of times and went back out. Scary moment for me but probably scarier for my wife. I remember opening my eyes at one point and seeing Brenda. She was telling someone that they would have to carry me off. I passed out again. The next time I awoke, I felt someone grabbing me under my arms and jerking me up and then someone else grabbing my legs. They carried me to the back of the bus and put me in a wheelchair and rolled me onto the platform and lowered me down. There must have been about 20 staff members out there. By this time I was pretty much awake but still unable to move or even keep my eyes opened. I heard someone keep telling me to open my eyes. They took me to their ICU and put me on a bed in a huge room. They pulled all of my clothes off (a pretty humiliating thing. I’m sure the 10 or so medical personnel got the worse end of that deal however) and began hooking things up to me and drawing out blood. They wound up doing an EKG, ultrasound, x-rays and I don’t know what else. All of this was done within a couple of hours and they told us the results of the tests within that same time frame. If we were back home in SC we would be in the hallway of the ER still waiting for a room after 8 hours. The tests all came back clear. What they determined was that the chemo had dehydrated me. That plus my high anxiety level and the Ativan I had taken had caused my blood pressure to dramatically drop. By this time I was feeling like my old self again. They loaded me up with fluids and kept me overnight just to be on the safe side.
The next day we were released. As I began walking towards the lobby to wait on our ride to the airport, I began to hurt around my right shoulder and in my stomach around my wound from my surgery. We determined that when I was lifted out, I must have pulled a muscle in those two areas. We made home. The pain in my shoulder eventually went away. I am still having issues with my stomach wound as I have off and on ever since my surgery. They may look a little deeper into that problem my next trip to Philly.
We’ve been home a week now and everything has been pretty good. My appetite is good, I’m drinking plenty of fluids, and I have been able to get out a few times. We will be going back to Philly for my third treatment on Monday. Here’s hoping for better news. It would be nice to hear some once in a while.