Saturday, January 30, 2010

Syncope after Alvocidib

Yes, I had a nice side effect from my treatment in late December.

Since I live in Sacramento and fly to San Diego each week to do this trial, I stay in a motel that night. I usually feel so terrible that I just don't want to move. I guess I could fly even in misery, but the Alvocidib (flavopiridol) gives me frequent watery diarrhea (joy, joy, joy!) so I just don't want to be buckled into by seat at 35,000 feet with a very urgent need to use the bathroom, only for the stewardess to tell me the fasten-seat belt is on, and I have to return to my seat...

So I checked into my motel on late December evening, feeling rotten as usual. By rotten, I mean nauseated and with abdominal pain. This time, in order to cut the amount of potassium in me, without using the horrible Kayexalate (just thinking this word makes me want to throw up; such is the power of the mind), they gave me a Lasix pill.

So, I'm checking in, trying just to get the key card for the room, when (apparently) I fainted and ended up passed out on the floor for a minute or two. I remember the desk clerk asking, 'should I call 9-1-1?' Of course, they did. So I had yet ANOTHER night in Hotel 'd Thornton (hospital). Joy, joy, joy!

When I fainted, I apparently hit my head on the rather hard tile floor in the lobby. The back of the head hurt. I asked the junior doctor at Thornton (who looked about 15) if this was a danger for someone with low platelets (yes, my platelets got into the normal range and promptly fell again). He said, no, the platelet level of nearly 100 would not cause any abnormal bleeding. So any lapses in memory or cognition would just probably be overlaid in my aging brain and not be distinguishable with the other insults that have happened over the years (and there have been some, due to sports).

So, you get Lasix with your flavopiridol, ask for a crash helmet to protect you if you end up passed out on the floor.