Monday, January 25, 2016

Round Two: The week from hell and catching up

(Long post alert.  Playing catch up)
So week two of chemo fun came around and we felt more ready for it this time then we were last.  We headed up early to the clinic because Denise wanted to hit the wig shop that is included with her treatment.  Great thing about the Cleveland Clinic is that if you need to get between buildings they offer shuttle service.  On a nice summer day, the walk wouldn't be a problem.  However, the temps this day were only in the 20's if that, so the shuttle was most welcome.  
We got to the Taussig Building and found the shop.  Nice little shop and even nicer person working there.  As soon as we walked in, Denise pretty much found the one she wanted.  Funny thing is, it looks pretty much like her current style/color!
So with the wig chosen, it was back to the Crile Building and time to get hooked up.  We were there early and we luckily were able to get called back early to get things rolling, which was nice.  Since Denise has a hard time with IV's, there was extra time to get that taken care of.  At least on the off week, we are suppose to have that installed.  (Well, that was the plan, but more on THAT later.)
Once Denise was all hooked up, it was medicine time.  Two of them this time.  Really the whole treatment went without incident or issue.  That night, Denise was tired, but for the most part, feeling okay.  The next day, Tuesday, she kept up with her anti-nausea meds and did good as well.  Wednesday was without incident too, so I was able to actually be at the office that day and get some stuff done.  Thursday morning rolled around.  My alarm went off at 5 like it normally does.  When my alarm goes off, that usually means that I spend the next 30-40 minutes lying in bed, reading news on my iPhone and debating if I want to get up or not.  I finally got up, got ready and then noticed Denise wasn't in bed.  She will usually sleep in the living room on the new recliner when she doesn't feel good so I wasn't too concerned.  When I went out to leave she told me she got up around 2 and had to go to the bathroom.  She said she felt really light-headed and dizzy.  I decided I was going to work from home since I had to work on a conference call with a consultant anyway, but told her to call the doc at 8 and tell them her symptoms.  Luckily, my call didn't last long.  Denise called the doctors and they told her, in no uncertain terms, to get to the hospital.  Since we're over an hour away from Cleveland we went to our local hospital ER.  Luckily for us, we didn't have to wait long once we got in there.  We explained to them her situation with chemo, her symptoms, etc.  While this is going on, her BP was a roller coaster, which was not good.  They started running tests on her to try and figure out what was going on.  Meanwhile, her blood pressure was going back and forth and she was just miserable.  To add to the misery, they couldn't get a good IV going on her.  Denise has always had bad veins and when it comes to IV like for the chemo it usually takes a while to land a good one.  Really wish we would have gotten that port put in sooner.  After some hours, the doc came in and told her that she had a bad infection and it went sepsis.  So the course of action was to admit her and get antibiotics via IV.  By Thursday night, they seemed to start taking hold and I left for the night.
Friday rolls around and I went back down to the hospital.  Not a whole  lot went on, but she was getting antsy.  After spending the day with her, I decided to head back home and she agreed.  So off I went thinking that tomorrow she would be coming home. Wasn't home too long when I got a text from her.
If you guessed "Andy headed back down to the hospital at this point", you would be correct.  I ran back down and we tried to get to the bottom as to what was going on.  Seems that her heart went into afib and they caught it.  They noted that her potassium level was a bit low and felt that could have been what triggered it.  To remedy that, they wanted to give her potassium via IV.  They warned it could be a bit painful.  It was for her.  4 fours.  I've never seen my wife so miserable and the only thing I could do for her at this point it hold her hand, pray with her and do what I could to comfort her.  Prayer works. When that was done at 1AM Saturday, we both just wanted to pass out.  Luckily she got a private room and there was a recliner in there for me.
Saturday morning I took off home to get some sleep and do some server work for the day job.  While I was gone, the cardiologist came in and discussed her afib.  In the meantime, Dr. M, her chemo doc, was also on the phone with me getting updates and sharing his personal cell number to give to the cardiologist.  (I so dig Dr. M).  Well, getting a treatment down took until Sunday and that's the day she came home.  Originally that Monday, MLK Day, was the day she was suppose to have gotten her port installed to make life easier for her with chemo.  But that had to be rescheduled for a week later.
We met with the cardiologist on Tuesday of the next week.  Denise gets to wear a heart monitor for for a month now.  So far, so good.  Hopefully, it's just an isolated episode considering all the crap floating through her body.
After meeting with the cardiologist, Denise decided she wanted to go to Great Clips and get her head shaved.  We were 8 days after her first treatment with the chemo meds that make you loose your hair, and she wanted to take matters into her own hands.  She wanted to own it.  And she did.  When we got to the salon, there was no wait for us and we were able to sit right down.  Denise told the stylist that she was going through chemo and wanted to go ahead and shave off her hair rather then wait for it to come out.  The stylist told her that for this, there's no charge, (total class move), and she couldn't have been more incredible with her. So when she was done, it was my turn.
Actually, the next day when she went back to work, her boss did it too.  And Denise got to do it!
The rest of the week was pretty textbook for the most part.  Denise got back to work and got into the swing of things.  Working did make more tired quickly so when she got home at night she was pretty nuked.  But it was nice this past weekend for us to go out to dinner and just enjoy some time away from home and away from a medical facility.  
So that is it for now. 
Denise and I can't thank you all enough for your moral/spiritual support over these last couple of weeks.  It's been a bumpy start on this road to healing, but hopefully the potholes are behind us and it's nothing but smooth sailing from here. We know that's not likely the case, but, we can dream.

In our next episode, the port installation!
Stay tuned.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story with us all, Andy.

  2. Thinking of you, Denise. And the fam... and the "faux hair" (as I called mine) looks spectacular. Although, I have to say, so does your GI Jane look. Sending big time survivor vibes your way!

  3. As always, please let me know if there's anything I can do.

  4. Thank you Andy for sharing your and Denise's story. Love and light to you and your family. Big, big hugs!! <3

  5. I love that you are sharing this journey with us. If there is anything either of you need, just let me know. ((( Hugs))) Amanda F

  6. Keeping you in my thoughts, Denise.

  7. Keeping you in my thoughts, Denise.