I know that over the course of the past few months I’ve felt rather poorly at times, more when I was on the doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide leg of this regimen than the more recent taxol leg. Despite that, I have been fortunate enough to not get sick… until recently.
I had started having a pretty high heart rate, it was 114 bpm last week when I had my last chemotherapy, but I hadn’t drunk a lot of water yet in the day and also, my doctor suspected that I was “third spacing” so I was having some of my fluids leak into my abdomen. That being said, my heart rate had been creeping up for about a week and a half before that day. Over the past weekend, I had the normal really bad aches and pains I’ve been having two days after taxol, so I took my temperature regularly so that I could take tylenol or motrin. On Monday I was still feeling badly so I checked my temperature and took tylenol. I didn’t have a fever however, my temperature was 99.4 which is higher than it has ever been (my temperature tends to be 97-98). This continued the rest of the day but on Tuesday, my temperature was back in the 98.something range until right before I was going to go to bed, then it was 100.
Technically 100 is not a fever, 100.4 is, however, given my heart rate staying around 110-120 bpm and still feeling generally crappy, my oncologist wanted me to go to the emergency room. They were initially thinking I had a pulmonary embolism, but also collected blood cultures to check for infection. I did not have a pulmonary embolism, thankfully, but still got admitted to wait for 24 hr blood culture results. I ended up being in the emergency department for about 20 hours before a room was available and in that time period I was started on IV antibiotics and then stopped. Late Wednesday night I got a “real” fever and that scrapped the plans of leaving in the morning.
On Thursday, the plan was to be discharged Friday morning if no fever, but Thursday afternoon I spiked an even higher fever than the night before. More labs and tests were done and then I was started back on IV antibiotics. Eventually, I stopped getting fevers and was able to sleep. On Friday morning I felt MUCH better.
After getting switched to oral antibiotics Friday morning, I continued to do well. Additionally, my heart rate went down to mid 80s, which makes me feel so much letter since my heart is not pounding in my chest!
I had so much support during this time. My sister and dad came up to see me and they both took great care of Finnegan during this time. We video chatted several times a day and Sara brought Finn and my dad to see me on Thursday and Friday. Either Sara or Jim slept over at the hospital, so I was never on my own there. And I even had a visitor from the animal therapy department… meet Zellie!
I was a bit upset that I had this bump in the road the week before my very last chemo, but I realize that I was probably still one of the healthiest people on the oncology floor. I was not considered a fall risk and was one of the only patients who was actually allowed to go for walk by themselves, let alone go to the bathroom without needing assistance. I am still blessed that I was mobile, I did not end up having pneumonia, a pulmonary embolism, or an infection in my blood or my port. In the end, I was classified as having a fever of unknown origin. Who knows why it happened but I’m thankful to be home today.
My major concern now is whether or not I’ll be able to have my final chemotherapy session on Thursday. I really do not a delay, but I know my oncologist will make the decision that is the best for me given my recent “fever” scare.