Summer has been very busy. Between tutoring, church, school work, and doctor appointments, the summer has just gone by so quickly. To pick up where I left off, I was having chest pain that was not going away. That led to the doctor calling his “favorite” cardiologist and made an appointment for the next day.
The next day at the cardiologist, I was nervous because I never really expected to go to this particular doctor. We waited a while for insurance approval for the stress test ordered. Thankfully, those results came back fine. They did an ECHO test and that came back great as well. My chest pains were puzzling, but by now, nothing was really surprising me. My main doctor was stumped, though as to why the pain was happening when all the tests came back fine.
Two weeks later I returned for a followup appointment. By that time, I was really not feeling better. My energy levels were not improving. During my appointment, the doctor was rereading my reports, specifically the blood levels and realized that no one had taken a panel for my iron levels. After the appointment, I went downstairs to the labs and had the normal panel taken.
Following the next week, I got my labs back and saw that my iron levels were practically nonexistent and my iron saturation was the same. This probably explained a lot of things, along with my anemia. At this point, after two chemo infusions, my symptoms seemed to be getting worse again instead of getting better. My dad and I emailed the doctor to ask what could be done to get my energy levels and blood levels back up.
So, yet again instead of hearing the words I read the words, via email, “. . .how about we admit you to the hospital to have some iron infusions and blood infusions. . .” These are not the words I really wanted to hear again. . .
Hospital Stay #6
That was over the weekend, and on Monday I returned to Chapel Hill for another stay. I was supposed to stay overnight and go home the next day. However, rarely does anything go as planned. My mom came with me for the night. We met with one of the doctor’s partners for that night and after discussion, it was decided it was best to wait until the morning to start any infusions. The on call doctor checked my blood levels to see where I was at the moment. After looking at those levels, he decided that I would only get iron infusions.
The doctors also ordered an x-ray of my lung to see how the mass was doing after two treatments. After the x-ray, the nurses worked on getting me an IV. As I have said before, finding an IV for me is always an adventure. It took over an hour to find one. We ended up having to call the IV team again.
The next morning, I started getting an iron infusion. My normal doctor came to see me and let me know the plan. This was really awesome because he doesn’t normally work in the hospital during the year except for two weeks, but he still came to see me. I ended up getting two or three iron infusions on Tuesday.
It seemed that everything was going smoothly until the doctors came back around to let me know the mass in my lung had not gone away. This was not the easiest thing to hear. The mass in my lung was about the size of a golf or ping pong ball. The doctors were kind of shocked since after two chemo treatments my inflammation markers had gone back down to normal range where they hadn’t been in a long time.
Since the mass had not gotten smaller and perhaps a little larger it could mean there was an infection. The decision was made to stay the night again with the plan to have a procedure the next day. Of course, this wasn’t the most fun thing for me to hear, but I understood we needed to figure out what the thing in my lung was. So, on Wednesday morning I had another CT guided lung biopsy.
I had this procedure before so I knew the risks that came with it. However, I would rather do this first instead of the alternative option of open lung surgery. I decided that I liked the biopsy option a lot better. After the biopsy, I had to lie down on my back and not talk for one to two hours to make sure no air was escaping from my lung.
After I was allowed to get up, I had two more iron infusions. Within two days I had five iron infusions. Because of the mass in my lung, my doctors decided to cancel the last scheduled chemo infusion and actually changed the medicine to a different kind of chemo to see if the mass would respond to it. Meanwhile, I would be on a maintenance medicine during the summer because this particular drug takes three months to work.
Thankfully, I was allowed to go home that Wednesday afternoon with an appointment for the new chemo infusion in two weeks. After the initial shock to my body of having an overload of iron, I slowly began getting my energy back. I went to see the doctor the next week prior to the next infusion. More on that detour later. . .