Sep 17, 2013 - 7:05 am
I had my fourth TACE treatment this month in Frankfurt and this really brought home the point of just serious this procedure is. It can kill you, and apparently it almost killed me. The first three were painful, and I had problems walking for several weeks afterwards, but generally there were no other chemo related side effects which is what I loved about this procedure. This time round things were very different.
To summarize: My immune system had been all but wiped out which resulted in a massive systemic infection and high fevers. I got the worst cold sore outbreak I had ever seen and I looked like a freaking duck. I got a bowel infection with a rather nasty bacteria that took over. I swelled up like a baloon with gas, and about 8 liters of water in my abdominal cavity. I became aneamic and needed transfusions. My platelet counts dropped to 22, which is about 6 times lower than the minimum range so needed platelet transfusions. I was told that my bone marrow had been damaged. My liver swelled up by 20 cm which did not help. I lost weight and hit an all time low of 51kg, mostly muscle mass. The doctors at hallwang did a pretty good job of putting me back together and was told that had I arrived 2 days later I would most likely not have made it.
So what went wrong? The radiologist decided to try and be helpful and added a new chemo to the existing cocktail and for good measure used double the standard dose. The Hallwang oncologist was furious when he found out and although the phone conversation that took place was in german it left little to the immagination. Next week I am back in Frankfurt for TACE #5.
The full story with all the details on my blog: http://www.mcrc4.com/?p=4755