Think of MRSA as the king of all bacteria. It is a hospital acquired infection. For a cancer patient, that is not the kind of bacteria that should be running around your blood stream. If left untreated, the consequences are dire. We are talking about you being septic. If it hits your bones, you might need an amputation if it wreaks havoc. Put it this way, you do not want MRSA in your blood as a healthy human being talk less of cancer patient with little white blood cell count.
My background in pharmacy informatics had exposed me to so much knowledge about meds, drug interactions, diseases, and decision support tools used by doctors to activate certain protocols. I had even sat in some of the initial meetings for the proposed build for Sepsis Initiation protocols. I understood clearly what Dr. Wildes meant when she said MRSA.
I shuddered. Had I waited a little longer thinking it was just port pain, where would I be today? Interesting enough, when one of the nurses from infection control came to draw blood for lab cultures, she kept asking if sepsis protocol was initiated. She had 25 years under her belt. I do not know what she saw, but she was concerned that the request for blood samples was way above normal. I did not put the pieces together then. The way my white blood count dropped within a week (and within two emergency visits) was cause for concern too. I still did not put two and two together. Further tests revealed that more than 15 colonies of MRSA were found in the port alone.
Here lies the testimony; God contained it. It had not spread to my heart valves, the nearest vital organ to the port-a-cath. Jehovah contained it. I trembled at God’s mercy over me. Who broke infection control protocol? What happened during the port insertion? Or was it my nurse at the cancer center who was careless? My mind is racing like a busy highway. I am stumped, shocked, afraid, and angry. I am here to get well. I am here to receive treatment. This level of complication was the least expected.
Deep inside it felt like a systemic attempt was being made by Satan to derail my health and these doctors were willing instruments. In my mind I am putting the pieces together. From the very first Ob-gyn who won’t listen to my complaints about the IUD and the depression, to my PCP of 15 years being chased around just to have him follow through on test results. To the dermatologist who had no clear solution to my hair falling off. From Dr. Nadello who gave me a clean bill of health and did not feel the lump in October, only to get a cancer diagnosis five months later. Now I am dealing with MRSA infection. How?!!!
My body was beat. Yet, I was giving God glory because He showed the devil, once again that I belonged to Jesus. Satan could not overstep his bounds. The Lord was steps ahead. I was not supposed to know of the cancer, but God shone his light on it. MRSA would have complicated matter but God contained it. In my pain and broken state, I danced, I praised, I worshiped God. It was there that I received new names; Oluwatomiiyin (God is more than enough to receive my praise), Eniolorunfe (whom the Lord loves), Mojuasegunlo (I am more than a conqueror).
I kept rejoicing in God’s faithfulness. The problem had been found. The next step was to pick the right kind of IV antibiotic for treatment. I would have to be on antibiotics for 30 days. Chemo would have to be halted for a while. It had to be an antibiotic I could infuse twice a day. Vancomycin was no option. It would be too tedious to administer 3 times a day. I was switched to Daptomycin but my body rejected it. It seemed to spike more fevers and rigors.
On one occasion, the rigor was very violent. When it was over, it took 4 hours for the fever to break; ice packs, morphine, other kinds of pain meds. As my hospital stay progressed, my lung function deteriorated. Fluid was collecting in the lower quadrant of my left lung. My chest would hurt and other pain meds will be needed for that. For a long time, I could not take oral pain meds during my hospital stay. The nausea was very bad and once I start vomiting, it gets violent too.
I informed the nurses and asked them to consider giving me all meds intravenous. One nurse tried to act condescending and she witnessed the vomiting first hand. Another one thought she could play smart during the night shift, and I was not ashamed to show her a bit of ‘wrath’. Enough of folks not listening to me. It’s my body for God’s sake!
“What is wrong with you?!! I know my body!! Get me the pain med in IV form!! Pull it on override if you have to!!”
The port pain was over. I was now dealing with chest pain. Once it starts, breathing is a chore. I was on pain meds round the clock. It felt like an unending cycle of complication after complication. I could not pray much. All I could do was praise God through it all.