Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not as unscathed as I thought

Naturally, two days after my son's field  trip, I came down with a cold. A cold on chemo. I guess that experimental spit got to me.

During chemo Friday, I thought I had a sinus problem since only my left nasal passage was plugged. A not uncommon occurrence in a person with a deviated septum who is addicted to Afrin.   Despite my dislike for the stuff, I asked for extra benedryl during my infusion to see if it would help.  It didn't.  As the night wore on I began coughing, and as I plowed through my first box of kleenex, I realized I had a full-fledged cold.

I had a miserable night.  Who doesn't when you have a cold?  Mine was compounded by the fact that the Taxol causes heartburn and gas, and with all the coughing and post-nasal drip, I was closer to puking than I ever have been while on chemo.  With the chronic "herceptin drip" I always have, plus this cold, my bed was a veritable flood of snot.   Naturally between the wet pillow, the coughing, the almost-puking and the burping,  I was finding it hard to sleep.

Sorry guys, I'm taken.

I actually doubled up on the ativan, shoved a keenex in each nostril and spread some on  my pillow and tried to sleep that way.  Yes I did.

My attempts at keeping dry worked only marginally.

The funny thing is when I was at the Exploratorium, I didn't see one person cough, one kid sneeze, one person pull out the tissues that entire field trip day.  I tried not to touch the exhibits and pulled out sanitizing wipes when I did.  The only area of danger was when I forgot I was Cancer Girl and put on goggles to look at a perspective change experiment - those goggles were probably on 400 kid's eyes before mine.  But, I didn't get an eye infection, I got a full-fledged cold - cough, headache, general misery.

At 5:30 am this morning, I woke up feeling hot.  I took a temperature and it was 100.8.  I was told to call the doctor "immediately" if it got over 100.5, since, of course, I have few infection fighting white cells.   But, I'm guessing immediately didn't mean 5:30 in the morning on a Sunday.  And, if it did for him, it didn't for me.  I can only be so compliant.   So, I took two Tylenol (another no-no) and went back to sleep.  My fever has not gotten past 100.2 for the rest of the day.

During the brief periods I've been awake today, I have pictured my poor old white cells coming out on crutches and walkers and canes to try and kill that infection, and beating it back enough to keep me out of the hospital,  and I'm so proud of them. 

They need to keep it up as tomorrow I have a long-overdue appointment for a tissue-expander fill, and I am also supposed to go to work. 

Think under 100.5 degree thoughts for me.


  1. Ann - Each time I read your blog I am continually amazed and impress by you. What a wonderful person you are to share this with us. Thank you. Judi G

  2. So sorry you have a cold on top of it all.

    Not one for one-upsmanship , but when I was getting chemo, I developed bronchitis - twice in two months. So I can empathize with you some. My white cells were crippled too, and your comments about them make me laugh out loud!

    Thanks for your humor. And your humility. I hope you have a better night's sleep tonight.

    Oh, and I really thought that I was the only one who stuffs tissue corners up each nostril when I try to sleep with a cold. I feel better already knowing I 'm not alone in this.

  3. call your onc about your fever. No changing that one. Your body isn't capable of fighting off the germs. But I am sending you good thoughts for a germ free body.

  4. Hi Ann

    Your blog is great - I'm so with you on all of these topics.
    I've been blogging my own breast cancer experience for four years now ... well, OK, I sort of took a couple of years off when normal life and kids took over again.

    I can hardly believe it's now nearly four years since I was diagnosed. Stick with it. These bad times pass - and when you look back it will seem like it was happening to a different person.

    I've linked to you from my blog over at

    Lots of love
    Be strong and stay well

  5. You know I had four sessions of EC (FEC is the more usual combination) and then I moved on to Taxotere/Docetaxol. After the first one I had thought I had an awful cold/flu - by the second I realised it was the side effects! Terrible phlegm and sore throat ... thought I had a chest infection ... :(

    OK in the end ... but it takes some time x

  6. Hi Judi - thanks for the nice words. :)

    I woke up today to a normal temperature. I don't have a lot of whites left but the ones left are strong. :)

    I'll check out your blog Marjory, thanks!

  7. When I had a cold after cycle number four it was BRUTAL. Hit me like a mack truck. Hope you've bounced back by now.


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