The Chest Infection Section

Posted on October 2nd, 2007 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

This has been one of the most uncomfortable, unpleasant, horrid weeks I can remember. To be given clearance to leave hospital after a week to go into a week of viral chest infection was a fish, frying-pan, fire situation. Not pretty.
I have had chronic headaches, photophobia, coughing fits, a peak temp of 40.1 degrees, uncontrollable shivering, sweating, sleepless nights and an aching body. My routine involved moving back and forth between bed, couch and bathroom. Just not a nice week. I haven’t been up to doing anything else.
I had my routine check-up with Radiation Oncology today. They sent me down for another chest X-ray to check things out. I seem to be getting better though. I am just exhausted and it will probably take until the end of the week before I am completely over it.

I thought it might be helpful if I explain a bit about this cancer and reasons we are in another time of limbo. There are two names that I have been using for this cancer- Multiple Myeloma (MM) and Plasmacytoma. They are both essentially the same cancer- cancer of the plasma. It hangs out in the larger bones generally (hips, femur, pelvis, etc). If this cancer is only found in one place, they call it a Plasmacytoma (this was the case for me as they only found it in the sternum), or if they find it in multiple locations it is called Multiple Myeloma. Plasmacytoma can be radiated (as in my case) but Multiple Myeloma requires quite a risky and complex process of chemotherapies and stem-cell harvesting/infusions. It can be present, but not necessarily detectible, in the bone marrow as it is patchy.

We have found it helpful to change our thinking about this cancer. We now see it as being very difficult to locate and diagnose. It will mean that whenever I have suspicious injuries or symptoms, I may have to go through testing like I have this last week. We have gone through some very confusing times and learned to be very patient for results. The doctors, nurses and therapists that we are under are superb and they have been incredible every step of the way.

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