Update: Wednesday morning--Margo's headache is much better and she feels better too. She had 2 units of blood transfused to bring up her red blood cell count and some strong pain killer (a morphine derivitive) and some miscellaneous other infusions and meds and oxygen. It appears that the last chemo has temporarily stopped the bone marrow from producing red and white blood cells and that the
short supply were contributing to a bad headache and overall fatigue and weakness.
There is a possibility if she keeps improving this morning she will be back home this evening. In the mean time, she has almost no resistance to infections or flu or other things that require the immune system and white blood cells, so we will be very careful to stay away from other people for a while.
Margo, my spouse of 40 years is back at Mayo in the hospital after her final chemotherapy treatment. She has had a several day headache that kept getting worse. So, after time in the ER and testing it appears her white blood cell count is too low to be measured and her red blood cell count below critical too. So she will be getting a transfusion to replace the red cells. They tried several pain meds so far with no effect on her very very bad headache--so right now they are trying another one. They think maybe the low rbc count is causing the headaches.
The oncologist says that some subset of patients get extreme headaches from this type of chemo doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide The first 3 times it went away after a few days, but this last time it has really been rough.
Her chemo was 12 sessions of taxol/amg386 which went well, followed by 4 biweekly of the much harsher stuff--which has put her in the hospital twice now. No more scheduled, so when she recovers from this then surgery and radiation come next.
It is hard to for her, as she has gone from a very lively and active person to barely able walk, eat or even sleep. However, the cancer tumors have almost disappeared, so we are hopeful that when she gets past this setback, things will be easier the rest of the way.