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Aren’t you glad they’re cautious?!: Day 59 23rd January, 2012

Posted by Scotty in Cancer.
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It feels so nice to be home again.  My blood levels and temperatures were back to normal by this morning so they sent me home with some oral antibiotics.

I have to say… as much as I was frustrated to end up back in hospital, I am VERY thankful that the doctors are so cautious.

Neutropenia (low neutrophil count – a white blood cell particularly important for fighting infection) is a common side-effect of chemotherapy.  For the days I’m in hospital receiving the chemo drugs, they are killing every fast-reproducing cell in my body (eg. hair, white blood cells, sperm, and of course cancer).  The chemo drugs really cause my immune system to tank (I’m taking that as a good thing and an indicator of the destruction it’s likewise causing to the cancer cells).

The last couple of cycles have seen my neutrophil level tank (which was why they gave me the pain-inflicting G-CSF injections previously).

Well, whenever I leave the hospital I’m always given some important reminders… one of them being that if my temperature goes above 38c I should call the ward.  As you read yesterday that’s what happened.

But why send me to A&E?

Well, there is a thing known as neutropenic sepsis.  Basically, you catch an infection which your body is unable to fight.  This particular condition has a 4-30% mortality rate… hence their extreme caution and quick action.  (Aren’t you glad they’re so cautious?!)

They want to catch any infection and aid your body to prevent it getting anywhere close to sepsis.  So, fired off to A&E… when I was given the superheroes of the antibiotic world.  They sent me back to The Beatson so the specialists there could keep an eye on me and continue to give me the necessary antibiotics.

The blood tests showed no obvious source of infection (common for 40% of patients), my temperature stayed at a normal level, and my neutrophils have increased.  So they let me come home after giving me a final THE FINAL G-CSF injection and some oral antibiotics.

I’m glad it’s done.  I’m glad they were cautious.  I’m glad I’m home.  And I’m praying hard for a nice clear CT scan result in February.

To Him be the glory!!!

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Comments»

1. Sharon O - 23rd January, 2012

It really IS important to stay in contact with the doctors. Any form of infection is life threatening when your immune system is so attacked. Be careful and do what you are supposed to do. REST is important to.

2. Caleb Elliott - 23rd January, 2012

We had a nice lady from Glasgow speak in my populations health class today. She talked a bit about the healthcare system of the UK. I’m glad you are getting top care and not having to stress about how you will have to pay for it. It also sounds like you are receiving awesome patient teaching in the process. That’s a huge plus!


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