When I was a kid, we had a special blanket in our house that we referred to as the “sick blanket.” Well-worn to a buttery softness, its faded 1960s floral pattern seemed to instantly soothe any invalid wrapped within its calming embrace.
Since I was diagnosed, several people have given me blankets. And while these new blankets are cozy and lovely, when I feel really cruddy I find myself reaching for my own “sick blanket.” A gift from my mother when I went away to college, the faded blue afghan is frayed and a bit ratty, but it’s also incredibly comforting.
I’ve spent a lot of time with the “sick blanket” the past two weeks. I started Taxol on Sept. 28, and two days later I started feeling bad. I was running a fever, which made me feel totally run-down. I took some Tylenol and a nap and waited for it to pass.
Fast-forward two weeks. I’ve been fighting a fever this whole time, which came with a headache, chills and other fun symptoms. I went to the doctor several times and got poked and prodded more than once to do all sorts of tests to determine the source of the fever. After multiple rounds of clean lab work, my doctors were perplexed. They gave me an antibiotic to try, but weren’t sure it would actually do anything since they couldn’t find any sign of infection.
On Monday of this week, I called to let them know it was still going on, and my oncologist decided I should have a brain MRI. Cue the stomach drop. This is not a test you want to have ordered. I immediately lost it, my mind going to all kinds of dark places and scenarios.
Yesterday, I went in for my weekly consult and to get chemo. My lab results showed my white blood cell count was too low, so they wouldn’t give me chemo. And the PA whom I usually see told me that my oncologist now wants to do a PET scan if the MRI results come back clean. Cue more freak-out.
I straight-up asked her if they think I have more cancer, and she said my oncologist has concerns, but this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything going on. I also asked her if this could possibly be a result of the Taxol. She said that was a possibility and that my oncologist’s partner had a patient who basically had a fever the entire time she was on Taxol. But, she said they wanted that to be the last box they check off, after they rule out everything else.
Rationally, I know it’s good to do these tests to be sure there’s not something else happening. If there is, we need to know so we can know exactly how to proceed. But I am scared. SO scared. The thought of more cancer showing up on one of these tests sends me into a tailspin. It makes me nauseous to think about it. I hope and pray this is just my body’s reaction to the Taxol, because that’s something I can handle. More cancer is not.
I’m feeling much better today (and have been progressively for the past few days). My fever and headache are mostly gone, and while I’m still wiped out from all of this, I am actually at work today and feeling halfway normal. I’m hoping this is all a good sign.
In the meantime, I wait. I’ll probably spend more time with the “sick blanket” this weekend, too. I’m not feeling as sick, but I still need the comfort.
18 thoughts on “The Sick Blanket”
I find it very commendable the way you speak about your battle with cancer. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 16 years ago. I still to this day struggle with talking about what I went through. People like you who are open about your battle give me the confidence to eventually speak about mine. Thank you for your bravery. I didn’t have a “sick blanket”, but I did have two pair of sick pajamas. I wore them when they admitted me for chemo. Comfort is a rare thing when the drugs that are suppose to save you feel like they are killing you.
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I have to admit that talking about it is kind of cathartic for me. Somehow, putting it out there makes things slightly less scary.
Sending you thoughts for continued good health and confidence–you should definitely tell your story! ❤
I’m so glad you found an outlet to help you cope. Thank you for the well wishes. I’m learning this is a different time then when I experienced cancer. Back then people avoided and treated me like the plague. People definitely offer more support now days. Praying for you to receive healing.
Your courage makes my knees wobble. Damn. No. More. Cancer.
Sending big love.
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Thank you! ❤️
This is simply awesome.
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Keeping you close in heart and mind, Jen. The fact that you’re feeling a wee bit better is a good sign. Love you, brave woman.
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Love you, too! ❤️
Bringlebelle I am thinking of you all the time! Hope you’re feeling better and that your sick blanket is providing comfort (when my kids were little we had a sick room!)
Stay strong brave fierce woman.
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Thank you, love! XO!
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