Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My gawd; I almost died.

Kind of. Actually, not really. But it's human nature to exaggerate, right? Again, not really. So here's the story: This past Monday, I began a new, experimental drug, Campath 1-H. Way back in December, I signed up to be a part of a clinical trial testing whether or not this drug works for patients with ALL. It is, I'm sure I've mentioned before, a specific drug, as opposed to nonspecific. It targets one type of cancer cell and Destroys It! Most of the other drugs just go around and kill any fast-growing cells. On Monday, I began Module D, four weeks during which I receive Campath three times a week. The plan was to start with three milligrams on Monday. Wednesday, today, I would receive 10 mg's, and Friday it would go up to 30 mg's. And then, for the next three weeks, I would be receiving 30 mg's of Campath three times a week. In short, a lot of Campath. A lot of clinic time too. The protocol dictates that I have to be monitored for two hours after the injection, which means a machine takes my blood pressure every 15 minutes for two hours. Incidentally, it's the weirdest feeling to have your bicep squeezed while you're asleep. Okay, so while this is all fascinating background information, it doesn't have a whole lot to do with my near-death experience.

Today, I woke up at 6:30, finally left the house around 7:30, and got to the hospital by about 8:45. They didn't have to draw my blood today, which was nice and sped up the process immensely. My nurse, Margaret, finally came to my chair to administer the shot. 10 mg's of Campath were injected into my belly fat, which is substantially less painful than most other places on the body. So that went well; I sat there for two hours feeling fine, occasionally getting my bicep squeezed by the handsome blue pressure cuff. There were no problems, no drug related complications. My mom drove us home, and I slept in the car. And then I got home. And immediately after I stepped out of our car, I got the chills. I put my huge, blue Culver sweatshirt on over my t-shirt and zip-up hoodie. I wrapped myself in my afghan, and I proceeded to climb into bed under five layers of blankets. Basically, I was cold. I lay shivering for about an hour, when I noticed that I was becoming hot. Extremely hot. I took my temperature, and sure enough, it was 100.6. Now, that may seem like a minor fever, but you don't have cancer. If you did have cancer (or if you were reading this) you would know that 100.6 is the breaking point for those who do have cancer. I called my nurse immediately. She told me to take two Tylenol and call her back in an hour, when hopefully the Tylenol would have kicked in. I did so, and I also grabbed another blanket for my bed. I got in bed, and started taking my temperature about every 15 minutes. It continued to climb. Over the course of an hour, my temperature went from 100.6 to 103.2. Once again, for a cancer stud, this is a bad thing. I finally called my nurse back, at which point my temperature had dropped to 102.6. The Tylenol had started working, as had the cool washcloth my mom had brought me. Basically, my nurse told me that it had been a drug-induced fever, and as long as it went down, I shouldn't worry too much. Not that I was worrying. No, I was more ignorantly afraid that my brain would explode, or whatever happens when you have a way-too-high fever. In closing, my fever has finally gone down. My temperature is almost back to normal, and I am only wearing jeans and a t-shirt. So, crisis averted.

And that was my day. I hope yours was --almost-- as exciting as mine. Happy Hump Day! With love from me to you.

1 comment:

Megan Amanda Steffen said...

Holy crap, that sucks. My sympathetic hypochondria is kicking in. I really need to invest in a thermometer.

Maybe now you can convince your mom to turn up the heater? Does that have anything to do with anything?

(Answer: No, but Caroline's house is still cold.)