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!