Friday, November 11, 2011

The Next Battle in My War on Cancer

After two or three lovely days at home, I am back in the Santa Monica UCLA Hospital for a few days.

This week I used my new Ommaya Reservoir three times. That is the port on my head that drips medication right into my brain and spinal cord. The Monday access worked very well. I experienced no problems or pain and the Herceptin began to do its job immediately.

I was supposed to receive a regular chemo called DepoCyt at the same time of the Herceptin but the Fed Ex did not arrive in time, so we rescheduled for Wednesday. I asked if we could skip the heavy doses of Decadron steroid that made me so miserable toward the end of the summer. He said OK and we would just go slow and watch me.

Big mistake on my part. My doctor knows more about cancer than I do.

About 2pm yesterday I spiked a fever of 101.8, developed chills and a massive headache, violent vomiting and steady nausea. That was 3 of 4 "go to the ER IMMEDIATELY" instructions on the DepoCyt, and by the time we arrived I had all 4. We called our doc and his staff verified, go because these are the same symptoms of Bacterial Menengitis which is REALLY bad. So, they immediately put me on high power antibiotics and are treatment as if I have the worst case scenario until the cultures come back showing otherwise.

I am coming to appreciate the hospital. I felt sicker than I have ever felt in my life yesterday afternoon/evening. As if I had the worst stomach flu you can imagine. That at least put me in a private room quickly because apparently vomiting people in the lobby is not an attractant for new patients. It's the little things that make unbearing situations more bearable. For instance, When we arrived in the ER I ran in and made a general announcement that I was about to vomit and could I please I have a pink bucket. People started running in different directions, the waiting patients starting turning away and covering their mouths. No pink tub was arriving regardless of the scurrying of so many, so I located the nearest triage room sink. About 3 nurses grabbed me and screamed, "Not in the sink!". They practically shoved my head inside the biohazard trash can and not a moment too soon. Needless to say, we found our way to an upstairs, private and fully admitted room in record time.

At any rate, our hope is I will be home by the end of the weekend, infection free, tolerating the Decadron, feeling as well as I am right now. As for future treatment, I am not sure of the details but I am certain I will be continuing Herceptin in both ports. As for the DepoCyt I hope I never again have to experience a time like today again. Today's MRI showed nearly the all the cancer in the brain is gone and now they are keeping an eye on only one receeding spot.

Keep up the prayers--they are working!


Anonymous said...

Your strength is amazing and inspiring! God bless you. The prayers are unceasing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Suz,

Love to you! So sorry you are going through this. Hang in there and you are in our prayers every day.


Jen (Terry/Johnson), Larry and Audrey

Anonymous said...

Suzanne - thinking of you everyday and praying. Thanks for the update - I'm thankful for Herceptin. Love, Maura

Barb said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that! You continue to be in my daily prayers.

Allaire said...

You are strength! You are love!
Deep, profound, infinite feelings of healing for you!
Infinite prayers, love and gratitude for you Suzanne Izzi Di Silvestri!!!

antonia said...

sending you lots of love & prayers

Annie Bizzi said...

I never stop praying my friend! Your sense of humor in all of this (aside from being a sign of your intelligence) is such a grace...

I miss you and am sooooo glad that you are hanging in there despite the intensity. Truly you are walking in His footsteps.

Love to you--sorry I haven't written in a while, know that I think of you daily!

Bianca said...

Thanks for the update and tip next time I go to the ER....scream for the pink tub to vomit in! LOL It's good to hear your humor in all of this, and know that we continually pray for you each and everyday. Keep up the good fight and when you get tired, know you have an entire community of faith surrounding you in spirit, prayer, and service.

Unknown said...

You continue to be an inspiration. God Bless. You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you always! Hang in there you are such a strong woman! Lots of love,
Sarah McCormick

Anonymous said...

Oh, what a way to enter the ER! It sounds very dramatic, to say the least, but I am glad to hear that the cancer is having it's butt kicked right now. Keep fighting the good fight! You are in our prayers. -AO

JoanneV59 said...

Loved hearing your good news about the cancer leaving your lovely brain :) Sounds like the prayers and meds are working, just like they should.

JoanneV59 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that things went downhill a bit after your birthday! Me, too; that's why I'm delinquent checking in...mets to the brain for the third time. I'm assuming it will be just as "impossible" to beat it back as it was the first two times. NOTHING is impossible for our God, and He will be with you every step of the way. (Dr. G. is doing a pretty good job, too!)
Please email me privately at CastilloDelLago at gmail so that we can exchange some information. Always praying for you,

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
I am a friend of your Aunt Barbara's. I've been praying for you for over a year now. I also went through breast cancer beginning in Spring 2010. I have went through the lumpectomy and lymphectomy, chemo, and radiation. I truly see the Hand of God on you carrying you through this because your story is so Amazing that it is a clear witness of the Lord's Loving Hand on your life. May you continue to cling to the Lord your God. May He be strength to carry you through every day. For me, knowing that He loves me gave me the hope to go through those dark days. Many times I've been tempted to despair, but His love kept me from going down that road. I don't update my blog too much anymore but if you'd like to see it, here is the address:


Cindy Huang (from Michigan)

Anonymous said...

Dear Suzanne,

I am a friend of your Aunt Barbara's. I have been praying for you for over a year. I, too, had breast cancer starting Spring 2010.I went through lumpectomy, lymphectomy, chemo, and radiation. I can see from your life that God is carrying you through this on His strength. Your story is an Amazing testiment of the love of our Lord Jesus. There have been many times I felt tempted to despair, but His love always kept me from going down that road. He loves you so much and He has a plan for your life that's beyond what we can fathom. He is using you now to inspire each of us and to bring us closer to Him. If anyone going through this doesn't have a relationship with the Lord may they reach out to Him as you have. He is our healer mentally, physically, and spiritually.
If you have interest in seeing my blog it is:
Many blessings and I look forward to your future posts!
Cindy Huang (from Michigan)

Anonymous said...

You never cease to teach, inspire, and amaze me. We are always praying for you and your family. I'm looking forward to the day when you will be at morning mass again. I know that day is coming soon. Love you Suzanne.

Mary Herbert

Anonymous said...

Always wishing the best for you, hoping your next scan is completely clear.

Martha from BCO