Monday, September 15, 2008

Just Another Update

Golly, time sure does pass by quickly. I didn't realize I didn't update the results of my appointment with my local oncologist. I did on the CLL forum and the Christian friends site and I guess I just thought I did here, too. Fortunately I think I can still blame it on "chemo brain." Surely it's not just old age or normal forgetfulness.

I don't think my oncologist was too thrilled with the blasé attitude of my pulmonologist. He asked me if I was sure he didn't want to see me again and I assured him that was the case. He gave me a referral for a chest X-ray in three weeks to make sure Mr. E. Coli has vacated the premises. Of course that is now next week. He also wanted me to have my IVIg infusion even though the blood work at MD Anderson showed I was still above 700. He said I was close to borderline then and it will just keep going down and he wants me to have this boost while fighting the infection. He wanted me to have it then, as scheduled, but I wasn't prepared because I was sure I wasn't going to have it. I had errands planned for the afternoon and I wasn't dressed for it. I get so very cold before it is over, even with their blankets, that I always wear a long sleeve winter shirt and bring my coat. I do get some looks walking into the building since it was still close to 100 degrees most days. I start out OK, but by the time we are done I am bundled up and under the blankets and snoring away. (They must love me in the infusion room -- not.)

So, that Friday I had the infusion. I had the normal headaches after and the sleepless night due to the bag of steroids. Strangely, I keep thinking I might be feeling the infection in my lungs, but I am not sure. You know how it can be when you become acutely aware of something being wrong and everything is magnified. I did tell the doctor that for a very long time it often feels like I am about to come down with a chest cold; that feeling one gets a day or two before. That is what it still feels like. But it never progresses. Please pray the X-rays will show an all clear.

I may have figured out how the e. coli bug got into my lungs. I did find one reference that even though it was rare, alcoholics have an increased chance. Now don't get ahead of me and don't jump to conclusions. I don't drink at all, never had a problem with alcohol, (well there was that time in college I try to forget) and the last time I had anything was a glass of wine at a castle on the Rhine river in 1971. WARNING: If you have a queasy stomach, please skip the next few sentences. Even though the site didn't explain, I think it is because heavy drinkers pass out, vomit and then inhale, so if the e. coli bug is in the digestive system, it gets into the lungs that way.

I do have trouble with acid reflux and, even though I take medication that controls it pretty well, about once a month I still wake up choking. I am a very heavy sleeper, so the choking is pretty bad and it takes a long time to clear my lungs. This may be the explanation. At least I like that explanation better than the fact I inhaled contaminated meat, or especially, um, uh, fecal matter.

It really isn't that important how he got there, I just want him gone!

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