Two weeks ago – the day i wrote my last post – the day i was due to start my second cycle of chemotherapy… that same day.. within hours of sharing my last post.. i ended up being admitted to hospital.. and somehow even managed to get a return ticket to ITU (intensive care unit)..
Two weeks on I feel I can look back and laugh at what was a far from funny situation.. but I genuinely believe I couldn't attract more drama and unfortunate circumstances if i tried.. I don't know what i'm doing thats wrong.. but i feel i am constantly being pushed to the limit.. if this is a test.. then it's disproportionately difficult and i am not being let off that easily.. in the space of 4 weeks i have had 3 hospital admissions (one in my local hospital and 2 in the hospital im currently receiving my chemo treatment at)..
So that day (3rd of August) i saw my doctor as planned.. and i was given the go ahead to have my planned chemo session.. so along i went to the chemo unit.. all seemed to be going fine.. to begin with.. as the chemo drip was finishing i began to vomit.. a lot.. and then i started feeling cold and shaking.. (note: i have had this chemo drug before and was okay).. the nurses in the chemo unit checked my pulse, blood pressure and temperature.. they said it was all okay.. but i kept shaking.. i was told i could wait a bit before leaving to make sure i was okay, but i said i would rather go and get some rest.. maybe the shakes are because i vomited so much.. my temperature and other observations were fine so I wasn't too concerned..
Luckily that day my parents had booked me a hotel room opposite the hospital.. as the hospital is about a 45min drive from home, they felt it would be too tiring for me.. when i got to my hotel room my shakes (rigors) continued.. my family were very concerned as they felt i was beginning to look more unwell so they kept getting me to check my temperature.. a mums instinct is always right.. my mum kept saying something is not right.. something is very wrong.. and she was right.. my temperature began to creep up.. at this point my family were trying to convince me to go into hospital which i initially refused (as i had recently had two hospital admissions and was fed up).. but as i was beginning to feel more sick i finally allowed them to drag me to the emergency department..
Arriving at the emergency department i had a temperature of 40, a heart rate of 166 and a very very low blood pressure.. i was taken immediately to the resuscitation department.. basically i was very sick.. the sickest i have ever been.. i can not thank the staff in the emergency department enough for what they did.. they are real life heroes and without them I don't know how things would have turned out..
As a doctor i have worked in the emergency department (A&E) before.. i know how things are done.. as a patient i have had multiple hospital admissions.. i have been in the resuscitation department before.. but this time it really was different.. i was much sicker.. it was so much more scary.. the doctor in me is very aware of whats going on around me and whats being said.. what i found most terrifying was when the emergency team put on the "defibrillator pads" (electric shock pads which are used if someones heart stops) as well as the usual monitoring.. and they were talking about making sure all the appropriate drugs were at hand.. now as a doctor what came straight to my mind was "are they worried my heart may stop".. that may not have been the case.. but thats all I could think of..
I was in the resuscitation department for several hours.. initially they thought i had a severe infection so i was given antibiotics and i was given 5 litres of fluid to try and bring my blood pressure up.. but it just wouldn't come up.. i began to develop double vision and was going in and out of consciousness (because of my low blood pressure).. I can't remember everything that happened but bottom line is i ended up being moved to intensive care because of my blood pressure.. overall it was a horrific experience not only for myself but for my parents, other half and sisters who never left my side.. I really have put my family through hell..
Thankfully due to the great care I received I improved and I live to tell the tale (briefly).. the most important part of the tale is.. in the end it turned out I hadn't had a severe infection.. but in actual fact i had had a severe reaction to a chemotherapy drug.. i was given another dose of it whilst under monitoring in hospital to see what will happen… and unfortunately i reacted in the same way.. but as the team were prepared they immediately gave me all the drugs i needed to control the reaction which meant i didn't need a second trip to intensive care!
Unfortunately the above drama means i can no longer have that particular chemotherapy drug (Bendamustine).. I can only have one out the two chemo drugs i need.. and there is no alternative.. it's very disappointing and upsetting because i am not getting the full treatment i need.. it worries me.. i feel everything keeps going wrong.. every single treatment i have had so far has been complicated by one thing or another.. every treatment i have had has needed to be changed or tweaked.. my biggest concern is my type of Hodgkin's Lymphoma is not straight forward, treating it is complicated… any compromise to my treatment plan will hinder my chances of recovery.. but all i can do is just keep praying for a breakthrough..
I have now been home for a week and slowly recovering.. i have become quite reclusive and that is a conscious choice as i just want to be surrounded by my direct family.. this has been a very difficult time for them – probably more than it was for me.. they are much more protective now than ever before and fear i will catch something off someone and end up back in hospital.. whether i agree with that or not I respect their view and I feel I have put them through enough as it is so I can't argue..
What is next? I am seeing my doctor next week and we will see what happens..
This beautiful card and silk rose was given to me by the husband of a lady who was also in intensive care.. he visited me every single day whilst I was in hospital.. there really are so many beautiful souls out there..
Cake and flowers from my sis Maryam and beautiful niece xxxxx
Cute fruit tree from my amazing bro in law!
To my beloved family who are doing everything they can to keep me upright and to keep this fight going.. to everyone who reads and follows my journey.. my army.. I give you my love and positive energy.. by the praise of God better days are yet to come..
Special love to the beautiful city of Barcelona.. a city which is very close to my heart… my prayers for you.. and for a world filled with love peace and acceptance xxx