On Wednesday, after Lisa’s whole brain radiation treatment (WBRT), she went to the infusion unit for her scheduled Herceptin treatment. Herceptin is an injection that is used to treat her type of breast cancer. As always, in the preliminaries to the treatment, her vitals were taken and even though she didn’t feel sick or have a cough her temperature was 101°F. This triggered a battery of test in an effort to determine why her temp was elevated. Over the next couple hours her temp ranged from 100° to 102°F.
Her lungs sounded clear, chest x-ray looked fine, white cell counts in normal range, other blood counts normal, Tylenol knocked down the temp, and so they went ahead with the Herceptin infusion. Over the next couple days, I kept a close keep an eye on her temperature and with Tylenol’s help it ranged from 98.5° to 101°F. As scheduled, she went to her WBRT on both Thursday and Friday.
Friday night, sometime after dinner, she was hit fast and hard with chills and shortness of breath. Her heart rate was at 120 and she started complaining about chest pains. Thirty minutes later, she was in an ambulance headed for the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital.
Of course there was a nasty snow, sleet, freezing rainstorm going on and the roads were covered with about 2 inches of slush. The girls and I tried to follow the along, but it was not a fair race because cars move out of an ambulance’s way and they get to run red lights.
We arrived at the emergency room around 10PM. They started her on IV fluids, took a chest x-ray and began a similar battery of test that she did on Wednesday. The ambulance EMTs had started her on oxygen since her blood oxygen level was below 90 when they checked her at home. Even with the extra that her O2 levels were just above 92. Her chest pains had disappeared, her heart rate was normal, her lungs sounded normal, her white blood cell count came back in the normal range, but she was still having trouble breathing.
The new chest x-ray, when compared with Wednesday’s, indicated to the doctors that she has pneumonia.
They started her on intravenous antibiotics and checked her into the hospital. Once she was settled into her room, the girls and I went home. We got to bed around 4am.
The antibiotics seem to be working because on Saturday, her temperature was back to normal. She still found it difficult to breath at times and her oxygen levels were still low. They performed a few more test to confirm the pneumonia diagnosis and rule out other issues. We are still waiting on several test results, but pneumonia is the most likely culprit. We stayed with her most of the day and got back home to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night.
It is now Sunday morning and we are headed back to see Lisa right now. We should get more details today as to how long she’ll have to remain in the hospital. Hopefully, not too much longer.