Toronto General Hospital, Sunday, April 15th
This has been a tough weekend. I woke up on Saturday morning with a high fever — not a good sign when you are undergoing chemotherapy. Based on doctor’s orders, I ended up in the emergency ward where I also learned that my white blood cells were pretty much non-existent, and my hemoglobin had gone down to 74. I have been admitted into hospital for treatment of Febrile Neutropenia until things are under control.
In the past two days, I have been poked and prodded. I have had to have an EEG, a chest xray, numerous blood and urine tests and, of course, the requisite IV (to quickly disseminate antibiotics into my body). It has not been much fun. Mentally, I am in good shape. Physically, I am really tired and have been sleeping a lot. Later this week, I might receive a blood transfusion. I am scared of blood transfusions given my previous experience, but will need to get over this fear. And, I experienced first-hand the difference between being tired and being fatigued.
My goal is to do whatever it takes to be well enough to undergo my third chemo on Monday, April 23rd. I have designed an alliance with the medical team here so we are all working toward the same goal. While I do not want to be at the hospital, I do not see this as a setback, and I am not frustrated by this turn of events. I just have to remember that everything that’s happening to me is because the chemo is working – and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, chemo kills not only the bad cancer cells but also the good cells, so some discomfort is to be expected. The key is to get back on track and just move forward resolutely.
So, I will make the most of my time at the hospital. I will spend dedicated time with my family who have been taking turns to watch over me. Last night, Shayne and his girlfriend, Fareen, and Sabrina and her boyfriend, Afzal, were in the Emergency department to spend time with me. Everyone was in fine form and we laughed so hard for almost 3 hours that I was afraid that hospital staff would escort them out! I finally kicked them out at 1am so that i could sleep. Who said hospital visits had to be boring?
I plan to watch the Blue Jays game against Baltimore. I will definitely watch the Flyers – Penguins game (I am cheering wildly for the Penguins as I have picked them to win the Stanley Cup – and they need all the help they can get). I plan to treat myself to a delicious hot chocolate from Mohamed Sunderji’s Lettieri cafe downstairs. And, I might even watch a Bollywood movie on my iPad (there are so many of them on Netflix). Now that would be a treat!
Unfortunately, because I am in the hospital, I will not be able to drop Sabrina to the airport tomorrow when she goes back to Africa for 4 weeks to wrap up her project. I have promised her that I will be there with bells on my feet to pick her up from the airport when she returns on May 11. Something wonderful to look forward to!
UPDATE FROM NAGIB:
Wednesday, April 18th – Munira is home ! Her white blood cell and neutrophil counts are back to normal, and her hemoglobin count is trending upwards (78 yesterday). Sabrina arrived safely in Nairobi and will be facilitating a workshop in the Kalelleni district on Friday. We are so proud of her! And, we are looking forward to that chemotherapy treatment on Monday!