I’m going to start this post by telling you that I did NOT need to go to the hospital. Kind of a spoiler, but didn’t want to leave you in suspense. Ok, now you can keep reading.
Yesterday I had body aches most of the day, but in the evening chills started. In a half hour my temperature went from 99.9F to 100.8F. Of course it was a weekend and a holiday, so when I called the doctor I got the service. They took a message and said that I would get a call back from Dr T’s covering Dr. As I waited for the call, I started packing my hospital bag. I was pretty sure the Dr would tell me to go the ER to have my blood counts done, checking for a dangerous problem called neutropenic fever that occurs when you have too few white blood cells to fight an infection. A friend of mine has had this issue several times and has been hospitalized to get IV antibiotics.
I just finished packing the bag when the covering Dr called back. I told her the details and she checked my records. She thought that since I have been on Afinitor for a few months without a dip in white blood cell counts, it was more likely just a virus. I was surprised because I felt that Dr T would have told me to go to the ER immediately. I pressed her a bit on this and asked what exactly I needed to watch for to be able to tell the difference between a fever that is no big deal and one that needs attention. She told me that I should take Tylenol and call again if the temp got higher because a neutropenic fever would not go away with Tylenol.
It was a nerve wracking night, but I did not have to go to the hospital. The body aches have mostly disappeared and I’ve got the usual cough and sniffles.