While I have been in treatment for the last 4 years I have carried a business card holder in my purse with all the hospital contact cards such as this one
as well as the contacts for the appointment scheduler, my oncologist, my nurse specialist, my cancer society liason nurse…etc…etc…etc
On Tuesday I had an appointment for counselling at the Cancer Society in the afternoon after attending my uni class in the morning. I had taken the train up to uni and AW dropped me in Newmarket on her way home after we had attended class and had lunch, so that I could kill time until my appointment at 2pm. I decided I would be ‘good’ and not tire myself out by wandering around the shops too much before catching the bus for the short trip to my appointment so I bought a magazine and went to the mall foodcourt and ordered a ‘Tank’ Juice and sat and read at one of the tables. As I sat there I started having one of my ‘cold & clammy’ dizzy spells. Dr H says they are caused by the large tumour in my liver -according to him as it has got bigger the inside of the tumour has started being starved of blood supply and has started to break down and every so often it releases the toxins from this cell breakdown into my blood stream which causes the ‘cold clammy spells’
Now usually when I have them when I am sittting down they pass very quickly and I feel capable, even if still feeling a little off colour, of doing what I need to do. Tuesday was not like that… As I sat there over a period of quite a few minutes the dizziness got worse and even putting my head down on the table did not remedy the situation. I had to end up asking the man sitting a couple of tables away from me to go and get someone to help me. He got one of the foodcourt cleaners to get hold of the centre management who come to help. I was lucky I was still coherent enough to tell them I didn’t need to go to the hospital I just needed to lie down and help them find OH’s number on my cell phone so they could ring him. He had to leave work and come and pick me up. The centre staff were very kind and took me to the management offices where I lay down until OH came.
Quite frankly this episode scared the h*** out of me. I realised that I needed to have something on me that people could read and understand the situation if I passed out and couldn’t tell them anything. My solution? to put a bright sticker on my card holder so that as soon as someone looks in my purse they would be able to get the information to be able to help me. I composed a card to add to the others explaining what to do in case of emergency and what was wrong with me and added it to the front of the holder. I know the time is coming when I won’t be able to go out on my own if I continue to get sicker but this at least helps in this interim stage.
MD was angry at me for not going to the hospital to get checked out but I knew that there was notheing else they could have done for me other than let me lie on a bed until the dizziness passed. I checked with doctors on Thursday when I went in for chemo whether I should have gone into the hospital and they said probably not but to ring them the next time it happens. They also checked me out including some motor skills assessment to check that it wasnt anything more sinister.
The one thing they did find that was different from normal was my blood pressure was a lot more elevated than normal and they are wondering whether that contributed to Tuesday’s episode. I have had to go to the GP’s on Friday and Saturday to get it checked to see if it remains elevated or whether it is falling back to more normal levels. So far it is remaining elevated. This shouldnt be a chemo or other medication side effect but if it remains high it will need to be investigated and controlled.