Saturday, October 20, 2012

Round 5: Different kinds of fevers

While we lived in China the girls and I would come back each summer for about 5 weeks. We'd spend the first few weeks in Cincinnati and I'd work and the girls would go to camps while we all got over jet lag. Then we would go to Virginia to see family. My parents house was always home base for the VA time and my parents (better known as Gram and Grampi) got Katherine and Margaret into America's Got Talent.

You have never seen more dedicated, or involved fans, than Katherine and Margaret. This session it was super exciting to get to watch the end versus getting email updates. In one of the later episodes, Justin Bieber was on as entertainment singing, "As long as you love me". This is a song I like so was singing along and trying to get Margaret to dance with me (unsuccessfully) when she asked me with a horrified look on your face, "Mom, do you have Bieber fever?". I laughed and said, "Yes, I think I do." I was then peppered with questions to confirm my diagnoses. That week every day on the way to school it was the same question, "Mom, are you sure you have Bieber fever". I honestly don't know if I could name any other Justin Bieber songs, but I was sure I liked that one and then sighed and said yes, I must have Bieber fever.  Margaret has worried about my well being since. When we saw a billboard saying he was coming to Cincinnati I asked if anyone would go with me and got told they just could not do that for me, I had hit a limit with Margaret (and Chad for sure, Kath was willing to consider it:).

A good friend sent me a hospital care package with at Justin Bieber spiral in (which I love, thanks, Becky!) which reminded me how traumatized my children were over my incurable Bieber fever. Luckily they are doing much better with hairy cell and view that as completely treatable. Katherine this morning told her dad and aunt it was going to the best day ever because another cousin was arriving and she has a sleepover birthday party tonight so all is well on the home front.

Here at the hospital I continue to fall into crazy statistics. Few people at all get this disease (fewer people are female), few people have any adverse reactions to Zofran for anti-nausea  (fell in that camp), few people have delayed reaction rashes (got this one too), and few people make it through chemo and the week after without a low ANC (absolute neutrophil count) fever ... really hoping I fall into this group. One of my nurses said it would be like winning the lottery if I don't get a low ANC fever. My white blood cell count is so low, and going lower, it makes me very susceptible to infection. They have been on antibiotics and anti-viral medications already. If I don't have a fever before Tuesday I get to go home. I will then have to come back to UC daily for blood work and transfusions but will at least get to sleep in my own bed which will be huge. They are also considering letting me leave on the early side because we live so close to the hospital so I can get back fast if I do spike a fever. So all and all nothing big new today just hoping to ride out the next few days without an big new medical developments.

Chemo Comedic Moment of the Day: I am very glad they let me wear my own clothes but given there are hazardous and toxic signs everyone thought we should check on whether my clothes this week needed to be washed separately. I have a male nurse today who we asked this question. He was not sure on washing together, or separate (we are going to go with separate). He was certain that all my body fluids would be "hot" and could burn others for 48-72 hours post chemo. So he turned to Chad and said that we were young and once I got out of the hospital "saddle up but be careful you don't get burned".... seriously?!? OMG not, at all, the advice we were looking for!!

Cancer Fun Fact of the Day:  A friend asked the other day if leukemia was cancer. It is cancer of the blood. They don't talk about stages of leukemia like other cancers. The way we had this explained to us was with things like breast cancer, your breast cells are just suppose to be in one place. If they show up in your lungs, liver, etc. then you know it has been around longer. For cancer of the blood your blood is suppose to everywhere so by definition the cancer is all throughout your body.  (they have done all kinds of scans to confirm no metastatic tumors.) That being said my leukemia clearly "smoldered" for awhile and I've likely been living with it for over a year.

I'm getting tired of 3am showering when my chemo bags are changed.... just 2 more to go after this one!


  1. Hi Beth, Greetings from NJ. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this blog. We are thrilled that your first week has gone so well! You are clearly in great hands (and with that kind of advice, I guess it's safe to say they are thinking of every detail : )

    You are almost there! Thinking of you every day, and look forward to the good news ahead - Margaret and Marty

  2. I wouldn’t start grinding on the stats, you are an individual, (a damn fine one), not a number in a study. Chemo is designed to wipe you out in order to build a new, stronger you without cancer. It just takes whatever time it takes. That's the part that stinks. You are a very strong woman who will survive and have a good story to tell from it all. I’m glad Robin is with you. We are all with you in spirit! - Uncle Tom

    PS, I think Chad would look good in some western garb, although the spurs could be a bit too much.