Saturday, November 5, 2011

No More Neulasta

I started to feel well enough on Tuesday to fly out of town on a quick business trip. Just one night in Columbus, Ohio -- nothing major. My oncologist said I was fine to fly.

My husband dropped me off at the airport, I checked my bag and made my way to the gate just pulling my laptop bag. By the time I got there, I was completely winded and felt very tired. I figured it was just fatigue from chemo.

The next two days of my trip were more of the same or worse. I could barely walk the two blocks from the hotel to the office. I had dinner with a friend and had to stop and rest so I could try to get enough air into my lungs. I was having a really tough time breathing.

I got home Wednesday night - winded and tired. I slept great and went into the infusion clinic on Thursday afternoon for my Lupron injection. When I told the nurse practitioner about my shortness of breath, she was concerned. She measured my blood oxygen saturation level which went down pretty dramatically when they had me walk the hallways. She immediately sent me to the ER for a CT chest scan. She told me she was worried I had developed a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) from flying.


So off to the ER I went. The waiting room was full but they took me in immediately. No waiting for me. I saw the doctor, had some chest x-rays, saw some nurses, saw another doctor and then had my CT scan.

Then I waited for the results. And waited. And worried. I thought: "If this is a blood clot, they are going to keep me overnight and put me on coumadin. Yuck."

Then I thought: "What if my cancer has spread to my lungs? What if it isn't a blood clot? What if I have a tumor in my lungs?"

And then the real fear set in. I thought to myself: "You haven't taken this cancer thing seriously. You haven't really adjusted your lifestyle. You are still eating and drinking whatever you want. You haven't even gone to church once. What is WRONG with you?"

It was not a good time. Cancer meltdown #4 (or is this #5?) arrived.

But the CT scan came back negative for clots, tumors or anything else horrific. My lungs were clear. So what was causing the breathing problems?

Our friend Neulasta. I Googled it while the docs were all scurrying around and it looks like Neulasta can cause shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Worst case, it can cause Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Lovely. That is the last thing I need.

For now, I am feeling okay and breathing better. I am taking it easy and will see my oncologist next week. But one thing is definite - no more Neulasta!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jen, I was just catching up on your last few posts, and although your stage in treatment was not all that long ago for me, it sure hits home. And some of your comments about not changing your diet, etc... I am here having finished all the major treatment and a couple of weeks into Letrzole, yet I find it hard to make changes too. It is easy for me to blame DH who makes coffee in the morning, and then I drink it; or pours me a glass of wine in the evening, and I don't refuse it. But I know it is really all me. I saw my oncologist last week, and he has made a referral for me to Dr. Amy Shaw, who is new in their practice and is putting together a survivorship program. My hope is that the program will help me to make little changes in my diet and activity level to ward off this evil C from ever taking over again.

    You are not whining. They say we are allowed to play the "cancer card" whenever we need it. And I'm finding that now that I am through with treatment, people see me as looking and feeling well, like everything is back to normal and full speed ahead. Sleeping till 9 to 10 am each morning tells me things are not back to normal. And preparing for my first mammogram in a couple of weeks also puts the fear back in me. Not to mention a dear friend who as been BC free for ten years who may now have a recurrence. Are we ever normal again? Maybe not. But we are stronger. AND we are here. I guess there is not much more we can ask for.

    Be strong. You are nearly done with chemo. I found radiation much easier than chemo, but still had some challenges. And now I am onto the 5 yr hormone therapy. You will be here soon to.

    You HAD cancer. You are a warrior and survivor.