The Invader – #14 (part one)

So I mentioned a hospital stay, so I have some events to catch y’all up on. Sorry it has taken me so long to write this! I’ve thought of it everyday – trying to condense it all so it won’t be so long but a LOT did happen….

In the last update I told about re-starting chemotherapy (begun April 30th). I had had a couple of 3 week cycles with this drug – let’s call it Xdrug – last summer and the side effects weren’t too bad so I felt pretty good about this course of action. All the scans showed that there was no metabolic activity in any of the lesions, so the chemo was to rid me of any cancer that happened to still be in my system and I also received another drug designed to deprive cancer cells/growths of their blood supply. As time went on and I had more cycles of Xdrug, the side effects got worse and worse. By the end of June I had at least 7 side effects that were troubling me quite a bit and getting progressively worse. In the interest of brevity (as well as not making everyone feel sorry for me), I won’t list them all out for you. I was losing a good deal of weight because of the nausea, complete lack of appetite and most everything tasted terrible (all Xdrug side effects); I was probably eating maybe about a cup of food or less each day – and I was trying as hard as I could! By mid-July, I had to stop taking Xdrug for a few days because I couldn’t keep it (or anything else) down my gullet. Studmuffin says that I was like a zombie during this period. When next I saw my oncologist, he had me in the treatment area at the Cancer Palace for two consecutive days to take IV fluids because I looked so bad! I didn’t get much better so next he told me to go to the emergency room which I did. FYI – Thursday morning is a pretty good time to go to the ER; they saw me right away with little waiting time.

While in the ER, I got tested for the Corona-virus and had to wait about 5 hours for the result. While waiting for the results, I spent most all of that time really thinking deeply about what might happen if it came back positive as I have several co-morbidities. Even if I had a mild case, as sick as I was at that moment from the chemo, could I even live through COVID – 19? What should I be doing to avoid contagion – was I really doing everything I needed to do? By the time my test came back NEGATIVE (YAHOO!) I had made a number of resolutions about how I would limit my exposure to the virus once I got out of the hospital…that is IF I got out of the hospital alive.

I was far more ill than even I realized because I was admitted to the hospital as a patient. I have an intravenous port in my chest that was implanted a year ago to aid with chemotherapy. I was so ill and malnourished that there were 4 tubes of medications, fluids and nutrition flowing into my port, and I also had an IV in one of my arms to administer other drugs that don’t “play well” with the things I was receiving through the port. On top of all this, I was having “elimination follies” – no I won’t give you the details. Suffice it to say, the first week I was in the hospital the elimination follies had the docs concerned that I might have a bowel obstruction in the small intestine and surgery was seriously considered. Since I really couldn’t eat/keep anything down, after a few days an NG tube (Naso-Gastric; thru the nose into the stomach) was installed. That NG tube has to be one of the most uncomfortable medical experiences of my life; remember, I’ve been through open heart surgery so you know it was BAD. The NG tube was not for feeding; it was to remove via pump what was ultimately liters of a black/dark brown liquid that was collecting in my stomach. In my opinion, that liquid was the result of my body trying to rid itself of the Xdrug that I was having a toxic reaction to. Since I was hooked up to so many tubes, it became impossible for me to get to the bathroom by myself in a timely manner. Remember, I have all the fluids pumping into me via the port and IV so I absolutely have to go to the bathroom every few hours. I was so gravely ill that I really didn’t care that I had to abandon any sense of shame or dignity at this point. The nurses and the techs who looked after me were TERRIFIC and very professional;I am SO grateful.

Friends, I was in that hospital for TWO WEEKS. That’s by far the longest I have ever spent in a hospital as a patient (I’ve had five major surgeries and birthed 3 children so I’ve spent as long as 5 or 6 nights in a hospital before).

I think I’m gonna break this post into two (yes this IS the condensed version!), so be looking for Part Two in a few days.

9 comments

  1. Thank you for the update, Helen. So glad you are getting better. Sounds as if you have had a horrible ordeal. Still sending you Reiki every day.

  2. Hi Hellen! You have been on my mind lately. I’m sorry to hear of these developments and I hope you feel better soon. Do you feel up to a phone call? If so, send me a text, I think you have my phone number. Sending a big virtual hug!

  3. Reading every word. Sorry to hear, but so glad you are able to write this and letting it flow out in words for healing. Love you! 💕

  4. My heart breaks over the health ordeals you’re going through! I’m sending out healing prayer melodies!

  5. Two weeks in the hospital is quite a long stay, for sure, and that length really speaks to how unwell you were. You have certainly been through a lot. Bruce always found the ng tube to be particularly unpleasant. I hope your healthcare providers are finding a plan that works well for you. I’m glad you were able to improve and heal enough to be able to leave the hospital.

    I’m curious to learn what changes you are making to manage risks around preventing COVID-19 infection. We’re still sometimes unsure.

    How are you doing on masks? Do you need me to send any to you? Much love to you and yours. xoxo

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