Round 4 did not go so well……
Have I mentioned how important it is that before you begin your cancer treatment journey to make sure you have an Oncologist you trust? My rounds are always given on a Tuesday and then I get a shot to stimulate my white blood cells on Wednesdays by pulling them from bone marrow. Usually by Thursday or Friday I start to feel bad. Well this round I started to feel bad on Friday. Nothing major, just feverish and like I had the flu. I started running a low grade fever on Friday, which for some reason I normally do after treatment. By Saturday my fevers began to spike. These things always seem to escalate on Saturdays, conveniently when my oncologist is not in office. Anyway my fever began to spike, so my husband was calling the doctors answering service hoping he would call him back to let him know what we should do. I didn’t seem to have any signs of infection, just fever and I wanted to sleep. So per usual, his partner, who I am not a patient of nor have I ever met, called my husband back and told him to do about 3 different things, all which contradicted each other. This is what happened after round 2 which landed me in the hospital. Finally he opted for taking me to the hospital so they could monitor me. This resulted in them, in my opinion, over reacting, admitting me, and immediately administering several types of antibiotics for an infection that they were not even sure I had. Their explanation was that even though we can’t find a source of an infection we want to be sure to stay on top of it before it gets out of control. Ironically I went to be monitored for fevers, and yet all the antibiotics they gave me had side effects which cause fevers. While I was there and after they had already been administering antibiotics, I developed what they diagnosed as cellulitis. Their diagnosis was wrong. When I came home and looked up my issue it was actually a staph infection. I did not have this until I went into the hospital. They kept me for 6 days, continually giving me antibiotics, the shots to stimulate my bone marrow to bring up my white blood counts every day ( I might mention that these shots cause incredibly painful bone pains), and then finally my first and hopefully last blood transfusion. I went from just being tired and wanting to sleep before the hospital to feeling completely awful and extremely weak and feeble while in the hospital. Luckily the blood transfusion made all the difference and brought me back. For 6 days, the hospital was never able to get in touch with my oncologist, nor did he even bother to show up at the hospital (where he has privileges, I might add) to see what was going on with his patient. I am due for 2 more rounds, but have vowed that I will take my chances quitting if I can’t find another oncologist before I go back to him. Trying to find another oncologist after you have already begun treatment is near next to impossible.
While in the hospital, I tried to call several other oncologists in my network only to be shut down because they only want new cancer patients. I do not think that’s right! No one should be punished because they chose the wrong doctor. A person should be allowed to change and these oncologists should be treating cancer because they want to help people not because they want to make as much money off of them as possible. It was very emotional to say the least, not to mention doing it while I was in the hospital fighting for my life. Luckily, when I finally got out of the hospital I had an appointment with my surgical oncologist whom I absolutely love. He was kept in loop on what was going on and made a point to talk to the hospital doctors. At my appointment I told him I didn’t want to stop at 4, especially because he had very strongly advised me that I shouldn’t a few months earlier, but that there was no possible way I could go back to my current oncologist and I was having trouble getting in the door with anyone else. He immediately grabbed his phone and told me "I have the perfect person for you. I would send my wife to her. Let me get you an appointment and let’s get this chemo finished. She will take care of you and she is next door." He called and they called me back and scheduled an appointment for me. I am very happy and I trust she will be good, because I trust my Surgical Oncologist. He has only sent me to the best doctors for the different things I have needed so far. So it looks like once I see her my chemo may be postponed a week for them to order what they need, which is actually fine because I believe I need an extra week for my body to recover from this past round and hospital issues. I will definitely keep you posted on what happens next but if anyone who reads this gets anything from it, please please please be sure to research your doctors and read other patient reviews before jumping aboard. I did not do that with my oncologist and I really wish I would have because his patients have not had good things to say about him.
I met my new oncologist and really like her. She has agreed to let me wait an extra week before my next round so that I can get rid of my infection and get my blood counts up. She also suggested that we reduce my chemo by 20% since I am so sensitive to medicines. Hopefully this will keep me from running high fevers and keep me out of the hospital. She said that I would always be able to get a hold of either her, her P.A. or partner, who I met, any time I need them 24/7. She is very informative and very easy to talk to. I am so glad my surgeon recommended her. I finally have hope again for my last 2 chemos, plus I am happy to get an extra week.