Things were going quite well this weekend. We had a deluge of visitors, which was awesome for our spirits, we all - including Jeff - ate well due to phenomenal food deliveries by friends, Jeff got out for walks, etc On Saturday night, however, he was really uncomfortable and hardly slept due to aches and pains. On Sunday morning the pain lingered but he had a pretty normal day.
By Sunday night the pain he was experiencing spiked dramatically. It was very intense and situated mostly at the base of his spine in his pelvis and lower back. He called the doctor and was instructed to come to the ER which led to his admission overnight.
[To spare all of you from suspense, I will come quickly to the conclusion and then share my related observations later.]
With the help of some strong pain meds and steroids, Jeff's pain was under control by early morning. Neurological exams thankfully ruled out any compression of his spinal cord by the tumor in the area where his pain happened to be centered. Ultimately, after ruling out other things, the doctors concluded that this pain was probably a side effect of Neulasta: a shot of "leukocyte growth factor" that boots one's immune system by stimulating neutrophil creation. The type of wracking bone pain that Jeff experienced is apparently not uncommon with Neulasta, it is not unheard of the pain setting in 36 or so hours after the shot is administered (like it did for Jeff), and it even makes some sense that Jeff's pain would settle near the site of his tumor, lumbar punctures, and bone marrow biopsy (which is quite the triple threat to begin with for one body area).
Anyway, after about 18 hours in the hospital, Jeff is home again and, actually, at the time I wrote this, on his way out for a walk with his Uncle Amos.
Now, in the interest of keeping things brief, here are my observations;
Cancer, thus far, has been exposing me to the "best-worst" things. For instance, we were rooting for lymphoma over sarcoma or other more challenging diagnoses as (one of) the "best-worst" options for having cancer. Likewise, Neulasta, which is kind of amazing, is also capable of causing incredible pain. It's a good drug that packs a nasty punch. Another best-worst thing.
We could not hold it together without or family and friends. Last night we were so lucky that Stella was enjoying her first sleepover with her best girlfriend Tara from preschool when Jeff's pain set in. (She had an amazing time at the sleepover with Tara's family by the way.) We were doubly fortunate that Aunt Emi was exiting the freeway by our house on her way up from Santa Barbara when Jeff was advised to come straight to the ER. Emily hardly blinked and turned right around and took Jeff to the hospital. She spent the entire night with him there while I was home with Lydia. When she came back at around 5:30 AM, I got up and took Lydia to the hospital. If Jeff and I had been alone last night with the girls, the situation would have been chaotic, to say the least.
Cancer throws plans out the window. Duh. I've realized (and written about) this already. But since Jeff returned home after Round One of chemo I had let myself slide into thinking that all would be hunky dory until he went back in to the hospital for Round Two. Neulasta (the crazy bastard) had a different plan. And such is life. We can't prepare for everything. We just have to do our best to control our reactions to whatever poo is flung our way.
Easier said than done. I'm working on it.
So - if you are the praying type or would like to send us positive vibes - some good ones would be for no more pain for Jeff, for sleep and rest for him (and Emi and the rest of us), and for health in our home. Stella sneezed tonight and has a wee sniffle that I am desperately hoping resolves stat. Oh, and thoughts that the cancer would meet its imminent demise are always appreciated - yet also covered in the prayers for health for our home.