Thursday, June 21, 2007

36. Time to Rest

Photos: Kas + bump, Nina & Ant, Jen & Jas; Me at home resting; Mum & Dad at Eiffel Tower...
It's good to be home. I had so many plans for the past few weeks...Glasgow to Loch Lomond bike ride, a few trips around Scotland with my folks and even popping open a nice bottle of red that's been lying down for the past few years to celebrate with everyone. Not sure what we'd be celebrating but any excuse would have been fine. I actually only feel fit enough now to release myself from the Play Station and head upstairs to start up my dormant laptop. The past few weeks haven't been fun...
It started with me posting a message on the CML support website about a swollen lymph node under my arm...I wasn't too sure of my next step, so without freaking Kas out too much I logged onto the trusty site. Without even having enough time to await any response, that's when the fever kicked in and I was summoned to my bed for some rest. It'd been a busy week with work and I thought a relaxing game of tennis could sort me out...not the best choice when you've got swollen lymph nodes. Anyway, 24 hours went by without knocking my temp under 38 degrees and that's when we decided it maybe best to seek some friendly doctor advice - they weren't as casual as me and before we knew it, I was rushed from one hospital to the next, X-rays of my chest and an IV drip stuck in my hand to receive urgent treatment. I had no idea what was going on! Then it was up to Gartnavel Hospital at 10pm where a nice bed had been set up for me and the haematologist registrar was awaiting my arrival...thankfully I got there with a lift from Kas and not the blue light ambulance they had waiting for me. I was keen to receive my prescription of antibiotics and head back up the road to my comfy bed...again, the docs weren't as casual as me.
One night quickly turned into two nights and it wasn't until last Monday morning someone seriously took a look at my X ray just to be sure. All the Consultants were suspecting Febrile Neutropenia (white blood cell crash) or maybe even Pleural Effusion (fluid on the lungs) - these are both potential rare side effects from my new meds Desatinib. I was just hoping for an easy viral infection and a kick up the arse to go home - I was actually too tired to drag my arse home anyway. Then in came in my great consultant, Dr Drummond...the X Ray had shown I was suffering from Pneumonia and that I'd better get comfy, cause I wasn't going anywhere in a hurry...excellent, two life threatening diseases to sort out now! Obviously I'm going to try harder than ever to get better as the last thing I need to do is put any more stress on Kas when she's nearly 6 months pregnant. It also wasn't what I had in mind for my folks to see while they were over visiting.
Eventually I started gaining some colour in my face as the week went on and stopped looking like a Scotsman in the middle of winter. The meds they gave me to treat Pneumonia has thankfully shown signs that it was clearing up but in doing so, I had to cease my CML meds until I finished my course of treatment. Hard to break the habit! The day after where my white blood cells actually did crash (3 down to 0.7 neutrophil count), the blood counts started to look better and Dr Drummond said I can go home now if I promise to do nothing but rest and perfect my Tiger Woods skills on the Play Station...
It's been a week now since I've been back home and creating a human imprint onto my new couch. My chest X ray on Wednesday showed great signs of improvement and my blood counts were the best I've ever seen... As you can imagine, I've been getting lectured daily by everyone - even the mailman popped his head in my door to tell me to slow down.
The docs aren't 100% sure if this was just a coincidence or if it was caused by my new CML medication (problems occur generally between 10-14 days after starting chemo meds), so it's a tough call what to do next. On one hand, maybe I should slow down a bit but the other hand seems more tempting...keep doing everything I did before to keep fit. The docs say I only got through this so quickly because I was fit. I think the key is just to have a break from tennis if I have swollen lymph nodes...
The only funny thing I see to come out of this, was the old ladies in the hospital ward chatting about the ghost of Gartnavel. I was intrigued to hear more - they say a few people had seen it last night and they heard about it from friends of there's who had been in overnight in the past. It wasn't until I strolled back to my hospital bed that I started to chuckle out loud...the night before I had woken with terrible stomach aches that made me burp for Australia and I was also shivering all through my body. The nurse had come to my aid at 2am to offer some support where she offered me some gaviscon for the belly and a white sheet to wrap over myself to heat me up a bit. Maybe that's what the old ladies saw last night - me walking up and down the corridors at 2 in the morning with a white sheet wrapped over my head. Gold!
So now it's back to relaxing and ensuring Kas is in the best possible shape with her pregnancy - the bump is growing so fast and I'm so eager to meet the wee baby! The house is much quieter now as my folks left the bonny shores and headed back for Australia - they'd be somewhere near Thailand as I type this. It's been great seeing them here but I do feel bad about them going through this hospital experience with us...not the relaxing holiday they imagined.
So until next week where I see my Consultant about the chest check up and the Desatinib pills I've restarted this morning, keep the emails and messages coming in...


Anonymous said...

Hey Matty...

If even the postman is telling you to slow down then I guess you won't mind if your wee sis, on the other side of the world, puts her two cents in too... Slow down and look after yourself!!!

I'm glad to hear you're feeling much better though. Justin's been practicing his swing on Tiger Woods too so you guys can have another golf challenge when we come visit! ;-)

Looking foward to seeing you both sometime in October. Kas is looking fantastic! I can't believe how much the bump has grown. Can't wait to see my wee neice or nephew!

Love your wee sis,
Tash xoxo

Anonymous said...


Just read your recent posting. You have certainly been through the mill recently. Really pleased that you are back at home.

Hope restarting the medications goes smoothly and without complications.

Sending you our best wishes

Parmjit & Maxie

Parmjit Horwood

Drew said...

3 sharkies in. Greg Bird at 5/8 for Anasta, White dropped for Gallen who'll start at lock. Kimmorley stays at half
QLD as for game 2

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt, I really hope the disatinib is working now and you've not had any other problems with it. It's been ages since I wrote but I read your blog all the time. Things are going ok with me. My onc is pushing for me to go onto disatinib but to date I've been really reluctant due to the effect it has on the lungs so I'm still on glivec 400mg. Have another appt today to discuss the latest blood test so have to see what comes from that. ;-)

Hope you're well and everything else with you, Kas and the baby is going brilliantly.

Take care, Stef (from Melbourne)

Stephanie Parry