My most recent Chemotherapy was Tuesday August 29 and the 5-FU pump was disengaged on Thursday August 31. I felt no ill effects whatsoever. Friday I played a round of golf with friends walking 3+ miles at a Par-65 Executive Course and shot an 81, which was very satisfying. I cooked dinner that night for everyone and was full of energy.
Saturday was drastically different. I was lethargic and weak, and developed a fever. Also I started having diarrhea, having to go at least 15 times since awakened that morning. When the fever kept climbing to a high of 103, Linnea called Dr. Picozzi and was advised to bring me to the Seattle Virginia Mason ER. We took the 9:45 pm ferry over. In the ER they found me dehydrated, feverish, electrolytes in imbalance, rapid heard rate and a WBC neutrophil count only in the 200’s. They admitted me.
In house, my diarrhea persisted and worsened with outputs in the 4000-5000 cc range each day. One day my output volume reached 7+ liters!! They cultured me for almost all pathogens known. The CT scan showed entire small intestinal wall thickening from the junction to the stomach all the way to mid-Transverse Colon, etiology ?? On the plus side, the cancer lesion in the liver remained basically unchanged and there was no evidence of new growth. The tumor marker was also stable.
My fever returned to normal shortly after hospitalization, the electrolytes were balanced daily and my WBC slowly improved as well, but the relentless diarrhea persisted. I was placed on clear fluids, full fluids, and normal diets; but they made no differences.
The discussions circled about ‘should’ antibiotics be started? Gun shot what pathogens? Antibiotics by themselves usually could increase diarrhea; furthermore, all cultures were coming back negative. Should anti-motility medicine be prescribed? If there were ‘toxins’, shouldn’t they be flushed out, not retained! Is this Chemotherapy caused? Is this due to reduced immunity? I was on, then off, and back on and finally off isolation. They wanted me up and walking to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), yet on isolation, I was limited to my room!
Linnea stayed with me throughout the duration and we suffered ‘hospital sleep’ nightly together. Besides the diarrhea, I was almost back to my normal self. We both were as puzzled as the medical team. But again, we enjoyed excellent compassion and respect from all. When they discovered that I was spending my BD at the VM hospital ‘penthouse’, the floor staff got balloons, signed a well wish card, and serenaded me with “Happy Birthday”. I also received messages of good wishes electronically from many friends and relatives. Thanks to ALL
Latest development while still stumped was that they finally consented to give me Lomolol last night. This medicine happened to be perhaps the missing ‘magic bullet’! I was started on it at Midnight last night, and it stopped the ‘flood’. I am now going on 9 hours without having to ‘go’. Hopefully I would be released on parole later today. Fingers crossed. (Cautions dictate my staying overnight as a simulation of real life challenges. If I remain controlled, the team agreed early AM discharge tomorrow, Saturday, 9 September.)
Thanks for reading and appreciate all your care and concern. Deeply grateful.