Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fun with Fever

Last Thursday when I came home from work, Cam announced that he felt crappy and I saw he had an elevated temperature so immediately called the cancer clinic after hours line and was told by the on-call Oncologist...  (say that out loud - on-call oncologist...hehehe) that if his fever went over 38.3 we must go to the ER.

So a couple of hours went by, and after we got 2 readings of 38.9 and then 38.6, we went in.  That was around 7:30pm.  At 11:30ish, they admitted him overnight and began administering IV antiobiotics every 6 hours.  His neutro counts were at 0.4 which is VERY low.

Here's what a visit to the ER in Surrey Memorial looks like:

Arrive at reception & check in, then wait in the waiting room for a nurse to triage you.  Go to the nurse to get your blood pressure & temperature taken & some details, then wait in the waiting room.  When your name is called, pick up your paperwork and make your way into the hospital to the Rapid Assessment Zone (ha) and hand them your paperwork - then wait in THAT waiting room (or more likely in a chair in the hallway as the chairs in the RAZ are always full).  Then you get called by the nurse to begin whatever round of tests they plan to do.  Then you wait for the results.  If you are very very lucky, there will be a bed available in one of the rooms.  If you are not as lucky, you get punted to a recliner chair in the hallway.

Anyway, that was Thursday evening, overnight and all day Friday for Cam.  ECG first, then bloodwork, then urine sample then chest Xray.  With his counts so low, they admitted him and gave the antibiotics.  The next morning, they did more bloodwork with the promise from the oncologist that if the counts looked like they were moving up, he could go home.  We didn't find that out until 4pm-ish....  so that was a long hospital stay.  The good news is that at 4:30 in the morning, they found a bed for Cam so he could get out of the hallway chair....

We were told that there was a 30% chance he would end up back in the ER the next day.  That didn't happen. HOWEVER, he did end up back in the ER last night.  Cam was feeling crappy again - a familiar crappy feeling from the week before, so we checked his temperature and it was 39.2.  There really wasn't much hesitation in going at that temperature - so at 10:30 at night, we launched on yet another ER mission. 

Amazingly, the ER was way less busy than the last 2 visits.  Everything happened basically the same except we got put in a room with a bed right away this time!  And the tests happened in different order.  But the bloodwork showed Cam's counts to be good (which we actually already knew from a bloodtest earlier in the day).  So the difference between last night and Thursday night was simply neutrophil counts.  So because the bloodwork was OK, the ER doc decided Cam shouldn't have antibiotics.

At one point, he was measured at 39.1 in the ER, and they said take Tylenol and go home.  It was very confusing.  But, we were happy to go home.  We arrived home at 3:50am.  GOOD TIMES!

But the entire ER experience last night was 10:30 - 3:30 basically....  so that's pretty good turnaround!

THEN, Cam had to go to chemo today.  We weren't sure if they wanted him coming in with fever, but they said yes and wear a mask.  So they sussed it out and decided he could go ahead and get the chemo - and then the oncologist prescribed more antibiotics. 

So, today was Cam's FINAL chemo - but it's a bit undercelebrated what with the fever and now they want to give Cam a white count booster which means more self-injections.....  And apparently they are $300 per dose!  Luckily he will only need a handful of them.

Theoretically, that should be it now.  And Lord knows, we both will be happy never to see the inside of the chemo room again.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cam is Cancer Free!!!

Just returned home from the appointment with the oncologist who reported that Cam's PET scan came back 'negative' and it all looked good!!!

So, no cancer is showing which means he carries on with the original protocol and now has only 2 more treatments - one of them is tomorrow.


Spread the word!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lots to report...

Yesterday was Cam's 4th of 6 chemos.  Just before Cam's 3rd chemo, he caught a cold and along with struggling through the challenge of chemo, also struggled with feeling crappy with a cold as well.  Lots of coughing & generally feeling awful.  He turned a corner around Wednesday-ish last week - but then the dread was setting in for the next upcoming chemo.

We met with the oncologist on Friday (normal pre-chemo appointment).  Everything seemed good to go.  Cam is participating in a clinical trial where they will do another PET scan after 4 treatments & use that scan to determine if treatment can proceed as planned (2 more on the current protocol), or switch to a heavier duty protocol & go for 4 more.  We, of course, are hoping for the former.

Unbeknownst to me until Monday morning, Sunday evening Cam developed a pain in his left ribcage area.  He had no trouble breathing normally but if he took a deep breath or moved in just the wrong way, it hurt a lot.

So off we went to chemo yesterday and in the pre-chemo check of symptoms, he dutifully reported that ribcage pain.  Everyone was interested in the minute details of this, and then the oncologist was called in to examine Cam.  The onc explained that it is not uncommon for cancer patients to develop blood clots and that the pain he was presenting is a symptom of a pulmonary embolism (PE for short) which is a blood clot in the lung.  Although he felt it was extremely unlikely to actually be a PE, he said he wanted Cam to proceed with chemo and then proceed to the ER afterward to investigate the pain.

The 'better safe than sorry' route in this case - so we resigned ourselves to a lengthy ER stay with the thought it would likely show nothing in the end, but in the interest of caution, away we went.

So, after an ECG, blood tests, chest x-ray and then a CT scan, at 11:20pm (yup, that's right) we were informed that Cam indeed does have a pulmonary embolism - thankfully a small one.  It is unusual for it to present with no other symptoms than the pain, but there it is.

Cam was admitted to hospital (at 12:30am) and given a bloodthinner shot, and informed that he will now need to be on bloodthinners ongoingly.  That news sucks unto itself, however, we also learned that these bloodthinners are administered via needle (as opposed to pills) and he has to give himself a shot every day from now on.  And these suckers aren't cheap either.  A 30-day supply is $1260!  Thankfully we have coverage for this.

Cam sent me home at 12:15, then I was able to pick him up this morning.  He basically had no sleep all night but seems to be doing ok now - just resting & grateful to be able to lay down without pain.

So now that the 4th chemo is done (despite the PE drama), he is now booked to have new scans to see how well the chemo has worked on the lymphoma.  So we will know around the 19th of Feb whether he continues on current protocol or switches to the harsher one.  I suspect that will be a stressful day or so....

So likely I won't make another post until we know what the frack is going on after the tests.

There's the latest!