On August 25th, I started a new, in-patient chemo regimen. Three days later, I was in the ICU. It seemed I had a severe form of toxicity to one of the chemo drugs, Ifosfamide.
All was going well with the chemo infusion, I was tolerating it well. On the night of the third day, my friend Jenny with whom I am staying in Texas, noticed I was groggy and confused (more than usual LOL). According to the nurses, that could have been a side effect of the chemo, but Jenny wasn’t convinced and stayed late that night.
When she came back the next morning around 10AM, she discovered I had been rushed to the ICU four hours before. Too much fluid had built up in my lungs causing difficulty breathing and I became cognitively unaware. Sedation was administered because I was fighting the forced oxygen mask. Fortunately, my breathing had improved fairly quickly because if hadn’t and a breathing tube had been needed, the situation could have been more dire. Still, my poor darling husband was on standby, 1,400 miles away worried and ready to jump on the next plane.
It took awhile to figure out the problem. It could have been many things from a blood clot, to disease progression to a problem with the chemo. By evening, the sedation was reduced and while my breathing and lungs had responded well, I did not snap back cognitively. I couldn’t talk. All I remember of this is that I couldn’t communicate, couldn’t say “yes” or “no”, nothing. Everything I knew and believed was completely backward, and I was hallucinating. Oh yeah, good times. Good times.
Since I didn’t snap back after the sedation was reduced, I was given a dose of methylene blue which helps by coating and protecting the brain. Chemo was continued in the ICU without the Ifosfamide because if it hadn’t, I would have had to start all over and the docs wanted to make sure I received the full dose. Me too, after I went through for that first dose! LOL
By my third day in the ICU, I could say “yes” but not “no”. A physical therapist had visited me and when she left, I actually said, “Have a good day.” That was the first full sentence for me in three days.
I left the ICU that day, still experiencing some hallucinations and confusion. I had been told it could take up to a week after leaving ICU to regain my brain. Thank God I can honestly say, it’s been regained.
Damage done to my lungs by radiation reduces the types of chemo I can try and unfortunately, these are the strongest meds with the most complications. Yay. I swear, I always have to take the long way around!
Whatever. Now I just need to work on regaining my strength and getting back to the point I was at before this went down. While I might get knocked down, I always get back up. So here’s a little video for your enjoyment:
For those who have already helped us out financially through our Go Fund Me page, we are deeply grateful. While we have raised quite a lot of funds, the need continues as funds deplete. It sucks to ask for help but Fred and I have always been charitable people and we so look forward to the day we can help others again. You can also help by sharing your positive words, prayers and successful “I beat cancer” stories, these especially, I need to hear.
As always, thank you, my Warrior Peeps, for watching over us. We love you all.
Yuki the Yeti keeps an eye on me in the hospital
One of my many war wounds. Wish this showed up better…