After more than a week of being so absolutely miserable, I finally got a real diagnosis and medicine that works. I have been having what I called “phantom stomach aches” for the past couple months. As with pretty much everything that goes wrong with my body, I attributed it lingering side effects from my almost five months of chemo. Last Tuesday evening (Dec. 20th) I got what I considered another phantom stomach ache. I stayed home from work Wednesday and Thursday feeling so nauseated all day. I took some of my medicine that I had left from the chemo nausea and nothing worked. I drug myself into my office on Friday and felt miserable all day. By Christmas Eve I was a complete wreck. On top of the nausea and diarrhea, I began vomiting.
I stayed strong so I could give Aiden a good Christmas and not have him worry about me being sick again. It was a struggle, but we made homemade cookies, made our gingerbread house, drove around and looked at Christmas lights and after all that it was bedtime. Only to awaken around 2 a.m to vomit. I figured once I got it out of my system I’d feel better.
Christmas morning came and I still felt horrible, but again, I put on my game face so we could have a good Christmas. That was all I wanted. After the year of hell both me and my son went though, I just wanted us to have a great Christmas. I had my two best friends coming over for lunch and there was no way I was going to cancel Christmas! Cancer, chemo and sickness took almost my entire year from me … I was NOT giving it Christmas, too.
I made my meal and doggone it! I took a couple bites of food and that was it. I was so sick all over again and back to vomiting. I did feel a little better after that, at least.
The day after Christmas, instead of shopping for Christmas sales, I spent 4 hours at Patient First. I had a urinary tract infection and gastroenteritis . The doctor gave me an antibiotic and some medicine for the nausea and diarrhea and finally sent me on my way. Once again, I was up all night vomiting. I kept taking the medicine and on Wednesday followed up with my primary care doctor, who sent me to the emergency room (ER) because I was still very sick.
Emergency Rooms are earth’s version Hell. It’s a cesspool of germs and yucky people. Because my immune system is still horrible, I sat there in a very uncomfortable chair for over 2 hours with my surgical mask on – I have enough problems – I didn’t need to catch theirs, too!
After urine and blood tests and a CT, I was diagnosed with the same thing and dehydration because I couldn’t hold anything down. However, and this is the kicker, the antibiotics that Patient First prescribed have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea as side effects so the ER doc told me to stop taking those pills immediately and gave me an IV of antibiotics, fluids and anti-nausea medication.
After more than a week of sickness and a partially ruined Christmas, I am finally beginning to feel better. I still feel a little sick, but nothing like I have been.
My immune system is still weak and my body is desperately trying to find its new “normal” after cancer, bilateral mastectomy, and chemo. It is long, hard road. My brain says “you’re cured! You survived! Now get back to the million miles per mile pace you’re used to!” But my body says, “Yes you survived, but you’re different now. You can do things .. but just ease into them and take your time. We’ve been through a lot … so slow down.”