I would be ironic, given my love for dentistry, and after all I've been through, if a bad tooth took me down.
For about three days, I've had a sore tooth. I did what I have always done - ignored it. I figured it would go away or I'd have to see a dentist but the pain wasn't that bad and it's a busy time at work. Graduation is tomorrow and after that, although I am working until the 30th, I am free and clear to make an appointment, since no kids and teachers are depending on me for immediacy. It's not that there is nothing to do but that it can wait a few hours, unlike during a school day.
Truthfully, I'd almost rather have more of my liver removed than see a dentist. So, I rinsed my mouth with salt water and flossed extra and just made sure the area was clean and went about my life, hoping the toothache would disappear.
Yes, I'm a normal person. A normal person with metastatic cancer and no immune system.
Yesterday, my alarm went off and I was unable to get out of bed. I was completely wiped. I couldn't eat, drink or move. Too weak. Last time I'd been like that - that weak and sick, I'd had c-diff. On day two I'd gone septic and went to ICU. Last time, I didn't get a fever until about 7:30 on day two either. I had no fever yesterday either but was weak as a ragdoll.
I figured my tooth was infecting me. I took a leftover vancoymin (shouldn't have, don't do this at home, kids) and called the doctor's office, both to cancel my chemo and talk to a nurse.
They said not to take anything and to go to the ER if I got worse. I didn't talk to a nurse I knew. My own personal chemo nurses know that if I'm calling - if I skip a chemo - it's dire. In three years, the only chemo I skipped was when I was hospitalized. I don't call for just anything, in fact, the only other time I called them I was already septic. So, I was not happy with that answer.
I kept taking the vanco every 6 hours and called this morning to confess my sins and ask what to do. I was, admittedly, quite afraid of going back to the hospital again and the vanco seemed like a lifeline. But now, I needed to 'fess up and know, do I keep taking it or not?
It seems to be helping. I am still feeling bad but am up and about. It's clear I have a sinus infection; my left eye is also infected and my tooth still hurts and of course, I have a headache, but I am able to get out of bed, and I took a bath, an impossible-seeming task yesterday. (I hate to go to the hospital sweaty.) I got to talk to a chemo nurse I knew today, who was a lot more sympathetic. The doctor said to keep taking the vanco since I do feel slightly better. The vanco is likely not going to work on the infection; it's not designed for that, and I'm in a precarious place, according to the doctor. I might go down again.
Remember, I am not able to take any other antibiotics, ever again, because of c-diff. I am a cancer patient who can't take antibiotics, which is not a good thing to be.
I will see the doctor Monday, assuming I survive the weekend without hospitalization. Then I have to figure out how to be treated for this infection. My hope is that the vanco takes care of it, even if it isn't used for that typically.
Graduation is Friday, which I guess I'm going to miss. My last graduation as a school employee - how sad. I really wanted to see those kids off.
Wednesday I am supposed to drive to San Francisco (100 miles) to have a PET scan that is the tie-breaker that will tell me if cancer is growing back in my liver. If I can make it, and it is not growing back, then maybe I can stop chemo for a bit and let my immune system recover to help fight off this infection.
I might have to stop chemo anyway.
The 23rd is my stepdaughter's wedding. How can I miss that?
I know there is no convenient time to get sick and maybe die but this is definitely not it.
When my son came into my bedroom yesterday, scared as crap at my health, I felt so sad. I'm ruining his childhood, and he has everything going on but me. He's a straight A student in one of the hardest programs in the country, plus he's a wonderful kid, lots of smart and funny friends, hopes and dreams that are difficult but achievable and he's doing all that with fear and knowledge that any day, he could wake up and won't have a mother.
People tell me I'm strong. He's the strong one.
I have promised to blog as long as I can, to share my story and so today, while I am up and about, I figured I'd tell you what is going on with me. I will try to continue to update with twitter. If I stay steady, if nothing changes, if I get better in the next few days, don't expect tweets that say, "I'm fine!" but if I take a turn for the worse and have to go to the hospital, and I am able (which I should be), I'll let you know. In this case, no news will be good news.
My twitter feed is @butdocihatepink and it is over to the right, embedded in this blog so those not on twitter can see it. I don't really know how to use it so if you say something to me and I don't respond, that's why, I'm not being rude. One of my plans for when I finished work on June 30th was to become expert in tweeting and maybe actually say something interesting and figure out what the heck all those # signs mean.
Just when you think you are doing good, that you might have a little time, when you plan things a few months out, that all is well, cancer laughs and smites you down into reality. "You?" it says. "You are not in charge, I am. I can take you any time I want, through any means."
Even a little toothache.
Post stem cell transplant Day 62
2 weeks ago