Friday, 11 September 2009

Yet again I stumble...

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious Most Merciful.

Assalamualaikum wbt and Hi everyone.

I was back in the anonymity again for the few days after I posted my last entry. As most of you might have figured out by now, my body seemed to have grown fond of ward P3. I was back in it again just as quick as I left it.

It was Friday evening and I was joining my housemates for the breaking of fast when I started to feel very shiverish. The temperature just rose gradually from there on, that by the time I put a thermometer under my tongue later that night, my body’s temperature has reached a high of 39.5 degrees. As 2 tablets of paracetamol didn’t do the trick, I thought it was probably wise ringing the ward and they agreed I should come to P3 as soon as possible.

Post-chemotherapy patients are immuno-supressed, ie they have weaker immune system than a normal person and thus making them more susceptible to catching infections, even from bugs that normally do not cause much harm. One of the classical signs of infection is a raise body temperature, and if not treated immediately in these group of patients, can prove to be fatal. Which is why my consultant has engrained this saying to me over and over again; “In case you have a temperature Mas, don’t wait. Ring us.” And I did just that.

The night I was readmitted, my vital signs were rather worrying. My pulses were racing so fast even I couldn’t keep pace with, my body was just boiling hot and my blood pressure plummeted to very low levels. At one point I even thought to myself, hey, is my body shutting down?? Except that I wasn’t feeling too unwell, though I reckon similar vital signs in a frail 70-year old person would probably make that person feel very poorly. For the first time since I started chemotherapy back in December, I have ventured into an unfamiliar territory. One I’ve never experienced thus far.

I was given 2 bags of gelofusine on top of my normal saline to help with the crashing blood pressure. I also had plenty of intravenous Vancomycin and Tazocin (both are antibiotics) as cover whilst they figure out what causes the infection. After 24 hours of close monitoring, alhamdulillah, my body started showing positive response and I was almost back to my normal self. In fact, I was really progressing well that the doctor gave the green light for me to return home that Wednesday afternoon. That good news was certainly what I was hoping for, as at least it will give me more time at home and prepare for my next ESHAP chemotherapy the coming Monday. But Allah certainly had different plans for me.

Remember “not the primrose path”?

Just as I was about to leave the ward for home, the nurse came to my room and broke the bad news. They have just received the results of my blood culture (which was taken during admission), and they have found a bug called Nocardia as the main culprit of my infection. As a result, I had to be kept for longer in the hospital to allow doctors to treat the bacteria. Gosh. I was that close to going home. It’s just not meant to be, is it?

Nocardia is a bacteria I’m not used to hearing. Not to say that I’m a bacteriologist, but having read my Infectious Disease textbook over and over again back during my medical-student times, I’ve never once came across it. Nocardia can be very difficult to treat, and it can pose detrimental effect on the central nervous system as well as the lungs. I was started on an antibiotic called Septrin, which is expected to deal with the bacteria and they have also arranged for a CT scan of the head and body just as a precautionary step. I’ve been coughing a bit more since yesterday, which my Consultant felt could possible be down to the bacteria. But his further management plans were one that rather shook me a bit.

Due to fear that the bacteria may pose effect on the Hickmann line and thus affect future procedures especially when it comes to harvesting my stem cells, my Consultant feels that it needs removing sometime soon. Yes, you heard me well. Removing the Hickmann Line and putting a new one.

As a consequence of the infection, my next chemotherapy which is due to commence this Monday has also been postponed to at least another week, to allow time for recovery from this infection, to remove the current Hickmann line and putting in a new one. I’ve also being told that I need to be kept in the hospital over the weekend to further monitor the infection. What I initially thought was just gonna be a few days of hospital stay has now turned into yet another week or longer visit.

Mom, you’ll always be my special friend

Verily, in every hardship there is relief. Although it’s been yet another miserable week, at least I look forward to next week. Several very important people in my life are coming all the way to UK and I don’t think it could have come at a better time. Mama has sacrificed yet again her money and time in Malaysia to spend Eid with this chemoboy. Just for the sake of this chemoboy. I don’t know just where does she get this strength to perservere travelling for 12 hours on quite a regular basis to come down to Sheffield. Mothers are truly remarkable creation of Allah, a miracle that Allah has blessed onto humankind.

It’s therefore sad to hear that a mother can look after so many of her children, yet so many children failed to look after their one and only mom when she needs the tender love and care. I pray to Allah that He gives me the quality of Uwais-al-Qarni, the noble person who lived during the time of the beloved Prophet Muhammad who is promised a high position in Jannah solely for his undying love and care for his mother.

And oh, by the way, the other important person to arrive in UK soon is PakTam and his family, as MakTam is due to start her one-year study in London. Pak Tam has always been an admirable person I look up to, he just cares for us as lovingly as he cares for Ainul. I’ve always seen Pak Tam as more than just an uncle to me, his fatherly qualities are so reminiscent of Mom’s motherly. And to have him around in UK will without a doubt provide me with the strength I need to keep me going in this uphill battle of mine.

We’re now in the last 10 days of Ramadhan. How time flies. It’s a shame I’m stucked here in the hospital knowing the mosque is literally 5 minutes away. Macam nak lari je pergi masjid, boleh tak?!!

Ramadhan Kareem everyone.

Room 3, Ward P3.
Royal Hallamshire Hospital.


rahmah said...

byknye cabaran..
semoga tabah selalu..

Anonymous said...,,20304220,00.html

Hope you are not feeling so alone.

Mas Afzal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mas Afzal said...

Ouh, what sheer coincidence. Don't know this fella but we are certainly in the same boat.

...Whatever things are thrown at you, you've got to battle through with a smile on your face...

Can't agree more.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...


Everyday I pray Allah Almighty gives you strength to persevere and to open up the hearts of all those able and responsible in treating you to carry out their duties well. I also pray that you get well soon so you can realise what you have been pursuing all these be a Doctor!

This year's Raya will definitely be different. For the first time in my married life, I will be celebrating it away from my husband and split between my children..My heart remains with those I can't physically be with. My heart also bursts with joy to be able to be with you Afzal, celebrating Eid together after 5 yeras!....See you soon in Sheffield...Take care..mama

rahmah said...

happy eid!!
semoga akan tabah selalu dan dilimpahi kebahagiaan dalam ujian berat yg dihadapi dalam keberkatan sinaran syawal..