At least I can laugh as I reflect on the last 5 days.
For those of you new to my story a VERY brief recap. I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2010 and have been “Lucky” to keep all of my progression in my bones: left hip, ribs, and various locations in my spine.
In my last post I mentioned starting a new infusion drug. I was scheduled to start Enhertu on Thursday. Due to known complications with the heart and Enhertu, I first had to have an Echocardiogram, STAT. The echo was completed on Wednesday morning but the “STAT read” didn’t get passed along to the radiologist (all this unbeknownst to me until I arrived at the infusion center Thursday morning).
I checked in on Thursday at Texas Oncology ready to get my first infusion of Enhertu.
- Lab work – check
- Echo – Not received, continuously checking with Radiologist.
- Review blood work.
Red Flag #1, my bloodwork showed high levels of calcium which required an infusion of a drug to bring the calcium back in the normal range. Additionally, there was concern about my fluid levels.
While I sat (un) patiently receiving fluids and Zometa, the nurse assigned to me kept me updated regarding the echo. Which turned out to not be much of an update – they discovered it had not been read by the radiologist and they were still trying to get it read and sent over for my doctor to approve the Enhertu infusion.
We arrived at the infusion room at noon Thursday. My last update came at approximately 3 PM. The scan was still MIA. There was not enough time to start the pre-drugs and get the Enhertu infused before closing time (one of the downfalls I guess at not getting an infusion at a hospital).
We were told they would continue to pester the Radiologist and get the scan results with the final approval by my oncologist.
I finally received positive news. The echo was read by both the radiologist and my oncologist. We got a Thumbs UP. Yea! Today would be the day.
After a quite painful start to the day, I was bound to get to the infusion chair and get things going. As we got close to the exit to the medical facility my phone rang.
“So sorry, Kim, Infusion is backed up and there is no chair for you today. We can schedule you for Monday at 10:15.” Sigh…
Turn around, pick up a delicious sub from Thundercloud Subs in Austin, and head home believing Monday would be my day!
Saturday. My pain was not getting better. That pain I mentioned starting on Friday was now hitting 7,8, or 9 on the pain scale (again, IYKYK). A friend graciously drove me to the Emergency Room and we arrived about 4 PM. After an hour-long MRI, the news was fractures in my spine (new since my last scans on 2/20). The fractures certainly explained the pain I was experiencing.
I had some of the best nurses during my hospital stay, both in the ER and once I was admitted into a room. And they kept the pain under control. The neurosurgeon I saw Sunday morning agreed it was important for me to get the new infusion started and since my pain was down to a tolerable level, he discharged me to go home Sunday with the understanding I would be fitted for a back brace and he would follow up with my oncologist to discuss options.
Monday Morning Recap:
- Arrive at 10 AM atTexas Oncology to discover the elevator was out of service (note I am using a walker and a back brace)
- Lab work is done on the first floor to accommodate those who can’t get upstairs.
- If an infusion is scheduled to last 4 or more hours, they recommended rescheduling.
- When I told my friend/driver that the nurse suggested rescheduling I said I was getting up those stairs one way or another. The song “Don’t Back Down” by Tom Petty rang in my ears. As I stood at the top of the stairs “Rocky’s Theme Song” bounced off the concrete walls in my off-key humming voice.
A lot happened sitting in the infusion chair:
- My blood work showed signs the calcium improved (YEA!!!), but my potassium was low (Boo!!!) The low potassium resulted in a doctor needing to sign off on everything to approve the Enhertu infusion.
- While we sat and waited for news, a lady across from me had a reaction to her infusion. Without going into detail, 3 nurses and a doctor came to see what needed to be done. The doctor was, of course, the one that would be reading my reports since my regular oncologist was out of the office.
- Finally close to noon, the reprieve came, the doctor signed off on the infusion and the nurse was able to put the drip line in. And no, at this point I don’t have a port, but that is under consideration.
- The pre-meds began flowing and then the long-awaited Enhertu began flowing.
- Sadly, the potassium could not be administered at the same time as the Enhertu. At 2:45 the Enhertu had finished, with no reactions (Yea!!!! again)
- The potassium drip started close to 3 PM. Around 5 PM I was disconnected from all fluids and released to go home.
- The elevator still not working, I channeled the Rocky Theme song again and made it down the stairs. Day over, Enhertu was successfully administered, now it is time to see what Side Effects will appear.
Thanks for Joining me on this adventure
I may be creating a care calendar since I’m not sure when I will be able to drive due to my back brace and pain pills. I apologize this post is so long and if you are still reading this, Thank You, I appreciate you!