Friday, March 27, 2009

The (Rear) End

Part 4

You know what the problem with cancer is? The problem for me anyway... I never felt sick. One day I think I'm fine - I have no pain, fatigue, blurry vision, loss of appetite, ingrown toenails - nothing! Then some doctor comes along and says the word cancer - your whole life changes forever. Because of two cancerous tumors in my left breast, I will live the rest of my life being called a breast cancer survivor. No finer group of women are there in the world than the breast cancer survivors I've met. But I don't want to join your group. Everyday I want to figure out how to mail back my membership card and say "forget this mess!"

I'm not whining, really, I'm angry. Though I smile knowing all the women whose lives I've touched just by telling my story so far. There are women out there getting mammograms because of me. How cool is that? The problem is, I'm just getting them to the doctor - if they have cancer the nightmare begins for them. All I can do is send people to the doctor to find out if they already have this horrid disease or not. I'd much rather someone call me up to tell me they read my story and got their "breast cancer prevention shield".

I hate this disease. I do. I hate it. I hate that every woman on the planet has to worry about this. No one is safe. You can't have this disease 'just a little bit'. Cancer has 4 stages. My cancer is only a stage 2 and I've lost both my breasts and I've got to go through chemotherapy. Imagine what it must be like for the stage 3 and 4 women. My point: go get a mammogram.

Anyway! When last we left off, it was Friday night at the emergency room. My ER doctor (Sue as she wanted to be called) tells me she's going to check everything possible to figure out what is causing my fever. As I've been in the ER, my temp has steadily climbed. I was shivering, I was so cold, but my nurse Jason wouldn't let me have any blankets, because he said my shivering was from my high fever. I was miserable, but hopeful of going home that night. Each test they ran kept coming back negative. Finally Sue came in and announced they were going to admit me to the hospital. Crap!

They couldn't figure out what was causing the fever, which continued to climb and my blood pressure continued to drop. I'm going by memory here, but I believe when they were wheeling me upstairs to my room my temp was 102.5 and blood pressure was something like 85/50.

When they got me to the patient rooms, they realized there just wasn't any room for me. I got stuck in the hallway for what seemed forever before they finally found a room for me. My new room was lovely, but they told me not to get too comfortable - I was supposed to be in an isolation room - there just were none available at that moment. They said they were getting one ready and would move me as soon as they possibly could. Meanwhile I continued to feel worse. They were able to slowly get my blood pressure to go back up, but it was taking awhile. Due to my low blood pressure they were unable to give me anything for pain. They were also struggling to get my fever down. It would go down for a moment, but then pop right back up again.

It was after midnight and Tom and the kids were still with me in my little temporary room. Tom wanted to stay until I got settled in my new room, but I finally talked him into taking the kids home. I said I would call in the morning to let him know my new room number. Right after they left 3 nurses came in and said an isolation room was ready, but they were going to move me to the ICU first. I stayed in the ICU all that night and until mid morning when my fever finally started dropping and staying down. My blood pressure had gone back up to it's normal 115/80, so I got to finally move into my isolation room. It was an exhausting night.

I really thought they were going to release me that day. They were sending up a doctor who specialized in butt problems to confirm my fissure diagnoses. My fever was gone and blood pressure was steady. If it weren't for the wicked pain in my rear, I would have felt great. And then the diarrhea hit. With each bout of diarrhea it felt like fire was ripping through me. I was begging for pain meds, but the butt doctor said no. He gave me a bottle of numbing ointment and told me he could numb me up or I could do it myself. I painfully did it myself. It took about 5 minutes and I felt amazingly better! Which meant time for him to give me a thoroughly good exam. But! by doing so he found my nasty fissure.

I asked him what I should do about it, because there wasn't much I could do to control my diarrhea. I explained about the chemo destroying my digestive system. Surgery, he said, I needed surgery to have it repaired. This just keeps getting better. He did know of a cream though that would help until I could get the needed surgery, but it would take a day or two to get it mixed up special for me. The cream ended up working famously! Dr Young said I could have the surgery, but I would have to pause chemo while I did that. No thanks! I want to get chemo finished!

Ok, so butt problem taken care of, all I needed was to get out of the hospital. I had already spent one night there and was ready to go. They had told me that they thought the fever was brought on only because of my white blood cell count dropping so low. It didn't appear I had any infection anywhere. When the doctor came to visit me Saturday, I expected him to tell me I was going home. Nope. He wanted to keep me another day. Sunday though, he kept his word and released me around 4pm that afternoon.

I was never so grateful to be home.


  1. Woo hoo for good butt cream!!!! I'm glad you are home and you WILL stay there!

  2. I imagine it is a small relief at least getting a firm diagnosis of why you were having pain in the posterior and a get well plan for it, even though you have opted to put it on pause for now - and with good reason. I am glad you are home. Praying for you.