Truth be told, all this week I felt worse than I had originally expected. I was told the “tougher” part of therapy would be around week three or four, so it was disheartening that I felt so awful after only the first round of chemoradiation.

Moments after my brief victory lap for completing the first week of treatment, I started running a fever and felt rundown. A quick call to my oncologist and I was instructed to head over to the urgent care facility Friday night. Fortunately Lorie and Rosie were already in town to spend the weekend with me (Megan was sick and stayed back in Pennsylvania with a friend).

Michael Becker at Urgent Care Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering

The snow storm hadn’t hit NYC yet, but the hospital lobby was fairly crowded. When I was seen, they took a nasal swab to test for the flu. Everything was fine until the blood test. During the blood draw, I felt lightheaded and nauseous (which never happens to me…). Immediately afterward the room started getting dark and the next thing I knew I was in another room with nurses standing around me suctioning vomit from my mouth. I had what is called a vasovagal response, which caused me to pass out and vomit.

Long story short, and despite getting the flu shot this season, the nasal swab came back positive for the flu. The flu effects are magnified in patients undergoing chemoradiation, which is why I felt so crappy this first week. The good news is that they started me on an antiviral agent (tamiflu) and hopefully I’ll be feeling much better during week two of therapy.

I was put in isolation so as not to get other fragile cancer patients sick, hence the mask and outfit shown in the accompanying image. I need to stay in the hospital for the full weekend to get IV fluids and rest, but will move forward with starting week two of radiation therapy on Monday with no interruption.

Never a dull moment!

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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Michael,
    Good luck with your treatment. Eric’s been sending me your link and I’ve been reading the updates periodically.

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  2. Now the flu?! So sorry. The good news is something other than the treatment is making you feel lousy. Hang in there Michael!

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  3. Michael – your low tech neighbor just figured out how to leave a comment — thanks to Joseph. I have been following your blog and have been in touch with lovely Sue Y. You are in our prayers every single day and every time we drive by your house. So Sorry about the flu; did you just want a private room?? Please hang in there and take one day at a time. We are cheering for you from the sidelines. When your taste comes back, I will make you your own batch of pumpkin cookies 🙂

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  4. I just learned about your situation today. What can I say, I am totally dismayed. As you will recall a little more that two years ago I was diagnosed with male breast cancer. A very rare diagnosis to say the least. Your story is so very similar to mine. I hope when I tell you that my oncologist told me a couple of weeks ago that he believes that I am now cancer free, that that gives you hope. All the radiation, chemo, side effects, daily visits, etc, etc were worth it. I have met many other people since my diagnosis who also have or have had cancer at various stages and various types. I am truly amazed at that huge success rate and how people survive the process and move on to live and appreciate life more after than before. When you are up to it, let’s have a call so we can share, and maybe even laugh together a bit. You have been a friend that I greatly value. That value will only increase once you are past this.

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