It began when I woke up last Friday morning, feeling like my port was a little different than usual. I figured that I must have slept on it the wrong way, so I continued to shower, get dressed, and go hang out with my friend, K. Around late afternoon, I realized that the skin around the port was becoming red, swollen, and itchy. The area was also starting to really hurt. I called the nurse-on-call as soon as I got home (because it was after hours on a Friday). They prescribed me an antibiotic and told me to expect to feel better in about 24 hours. By the next afternoon, my fever was at 103 degrees and I was completely paralyzed on the left side of my body, because the infected area had spread so quickly. I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. Upon arrival, they attempted to access my port (which was broken) and then attach an IV to my arm (for fluids and drawing blood). The results determined that I had a staph infection (sepsis) in my blood, which had originated in my port. This accounts for the rash, skin swelling, high fever, chills, and low blood pressure that I was experiencing. My treatment was the immediate surgical removal of my infected port and to be put on three of the strongest IV antibiotics to help my body fight the infection. Being a cancer patient, my immune system was already compromised, so this was very scary.
The next thing was that I kept having sharp pains in my heart that were unexplainable. The EKG and echocardiogram showed up normal. Then they sent me in for a CT scan and found multiple blood clots in my lungs that were close to my heart, which were causing that feeling. These clots could have originated from another part of my body. I had an ultrasound done of my legs today (clear) and will probably have one of my arms tomorrow, to try to find the source of the blood clots. They certainly weren’t there in the CT scan that I had done of my full body just a little over a month ago. My guess is that the blood clots were either caused by the chemo or (most likely) by the infected port. My treatment for this is two painful shots in my tummy that I will have to give myself daily, to help thin the blood and keep it from clotting. While I’m here at the hospital, the nurse administers the shot, but soon I will have to learn how to do them myself for when I go home. I dread this part more than anything. I will also be taking an oral pill to help get rid of and prevent blood clots in the future.
The good news is that today is the first day that I have not had a fever at all, so hopefully this means that the antibiotics are helping me to get rid of this terrible infection. Tomorrow they will draw my blood, and if I am completely free from infection, I will be ready for my picc line surgery. A picc line is another option for receiving chemotherapy, rather than a port. Because of the complications I had with my last port, the thought of getting another one makes me feel queasy. So, I think the picc line is the best choice for me now. Once the picc line is in, I should be allowed to go home! (with daily visits to the doctor to keep receiving my IV antibiotics, I’m sure). My goal is to be home for the weekend. I will feel so amazing to sleep in my own bed and have my own stuff after being in this hospital for a week! My mom has stayed with me every day at the hospital (with the exception of quickly running home for a minute to grab something that she needs) and she has even slept here with me every night: on a hard, uncomfortable chair. I told her that she doesn’t have to, but she insists. I have the best mommy in the world!! So happy that I am on the road to recovery, thanks to everyone who has given me their support this week! Its so nice when people unselfishly go above and beyond what is expected of them! Thanks for the brownies, flowers, cards, and visits!
*I apologize for the lack of pictures in this post, as I am writing this from the hospital, on a laptop. I will keep you posted on which day I will be allowed to go home! =)
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead even though you have to endure many trials for a while.” 1 Peter 1:6