Any Illness is Now a Big Deal

So Friday before chemo on Monday.  I have some trouble urinating.  I know not a common subject to just be blogging about, but it brings up a point about my life these days.

The problem got worse and turned out to be a bladder infection, my first ever.  The cause was more than likely my compromised immune system to fight off infection.  I called the nurse that supports my oncologist and went through the symptoms.  She had to consult with another doctor since mine is away at the moment.

Before she called back, things had gotten worse.  My urine had turned to a lovely shade of red and the pain was getting pretty bad.  I also started to pass coagulated blood.  The blood was starting to clot inside my bladder or so we were thinking.

By the time the nurse called back I was really scared.  I had a lot of surgery done down there and what if this was something related to the surgery.  The last thing I want to do is go under the knife again.  She was unsure of the blood clots and was wondering if I was maybe passing a Kidney stone.  I had no pain in my lower back and was not feeling any other ill effects.  Just painful red urine with blood clots in it.

Under the doctor’s orders she phoned in a prescription for antibiotics.  It’s the normal procedure for a bladder infection.  I started to take them as soon as possible.  She then followed up by calling in another prescription that helps alleviate the symptoms to let the antibiotic do its work.  The plan was to try the medicine, but if it gets worse to head over to the ER and get checked out.

That was about 2 in the afternoon on Friday.  I had already called in sick to work because I was in no shape to do anything but lie down and go to the bathroom, often.

Because of the cancer and because of these unusual blood clots and the fact that things were not getting better by 2am Saturday morning we decided a visit to the Emergency Room was in order.  I was not happy.  The default response from your doctor when you call and things are not “normal” is to go to the emergency room.  My past visit to the emergency room, while necessary, was not at all a positive experience and I didn’t want to go through that fiasco again.

But we decided, based on the unknowns that we should go.  Since it was 2am there wasn’t a long line at the ER.  We got in pretty quickly but it took some time for a doctor to see me.  In that time we acquired (by asking, nothing was offered up to us) for a urine bottle because we knew I was going to go again soon and they would need a sample.  Sure enough the sample was made before the doctor came in.

Once we saw the doctor, who was very nice, I explained my story, he ordered a full blood workup and had the urine sample sent to the lab.  He also explained that chemo can have the effect of sloffing off cells in your bladders since they, like cancer cells are fast producing and growing. His only concern is that I need to keep up on the water to prevent any kind of blockage.  Not a pleasant thought, especially with my past experience with catheters!

After another while the doctor came back with the results and reported my kidney function was excellent and bacteria was found in my urine.  He was confident that all I had was a bladder infection.  Weird that that would be the best news I could hear.

After that, I relaxed and my stress level fell, along with my wife’s and mother-in-law’s who came down after she heard we were at the ER.  After some paperwork we were allowed to leave at about 5am.

Even with the diagnosis, I was still concerned the following day.  Things seemed to start clearing up, but the clots had become much bigger and the idea that it could clog up the works was never far from my mind.

Things continued the same through Sunday as we decided that not only was the chemo the cause of the infection, but it was also probably slowing down the time it takes to heal.

By Monday things were the same as we headed off the chemo.  We were unsure if they would even allow me to get infused because of the infection.  After 2 and a half hours of waiting, they finally decided it would be ok.  This was good news for me because I don’t want any delays in getting treatment.  Not only is it a critical time for the chemo, but I sure didn’t want to be put another week on the finish date (which is October 17th if you were wondering).

By the end of chemo and when we finally got home, things started clearing up.  The infection isn’t gone, but it is definitely on the way out.

On a side note, I got to see an old friend on Monday and meet a new one that has inspired me to get back to building guitars.  But that’s another story!


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