Getting Sick When Immunosuppressed Sucks!


Well, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year so the week leading up to Thanksgiving involved a lot of getting ready. I was looking forward to it, I hadn’t seen the family in so long! So I was getting a lot of work done and everything seemed to be going smoothly… Monday night though… I started feeling a little weird… I checked my temperature and it was about 99 (Fahrenheit)… I am usually about 97 so that was definitely higher than normal. So I took something to help me sleep and I knocked out early because I figured the more sleep the better. Well at about 2am I woke up to use the restroom (pretty typical) but once I was in the bathroom it’s like my body said “oh, hey, since we are here? BLAH!” I threw up a few times. Not a lot, I had only had soup for dinner, no, this was more like when you are trying to vomit but have nothing in your stomach so you just spit up some bile. Then dry heaving. Fun…

The next morning I didn’t wake up till late and I felt so horrible! Everything was achy like I had the flu! I didn’t really feel right in the head either; I felt like I was stuck in between being asleep and being awake – hazy. Without getting out of bed I grabbed the thermometer from my desk and checked my temperature; 101.3. Uh-oh! I am pretty sure my doctor had said something when explaining Lemtrada to me about having to go to Urgent Care if I got a fever of 100 or above but at the time I just could not gather my thoughts! So I called my doctor’s office and explained what was going on and they told me I needed to go to Urgent Care. Great. I hate Urgent care, I had no desire to go but I did understand that having a fever when you are immunosuppressed is a little different than when you have a fully functional immune system.

So I got out of bed to throw on some jeans so I could go to Urgent Care but wow! My back was killing me! I could hardly move in certain positions! The first thing I thought? Kidneys. That would explain the short episode of vomiting! So my Dad drove me to Urgent Care and when I checked in I gave them the little Lemtrada card I am supposed to give them to let me know what is going on with my treatment and wow, I knew that triage meant someone like me had a high priority to be taken care of but I didn’t wait more than 5 minutes before they took me back and put me in a room!

They then took a urine sample and did a quick test which revealed I was really dehydrated (high levels of ketones) which made sense because I had vomited that night but instead of drinking water to replace what I had lost I had just gone back to sleep. So they wanted to give me IV fluids. While I was waiting for the doctor they also did a flu test; that one where they jam the cotton swab up your nose? That was fun. The results were in after about 15 minutes and it was negative so… no flu. When the doctor came in she pushed around on my back asking where it hurt and turns out? That back pain was just a muscle, it was way below where my kidneys are but because it hurt so bad to twist and turn I didn’t figure that out on my own. Plus, I was not thinking clearly. So the back pain was most likely due to me sleeping in a bad position for much longer than I usually do. Next they drew some blood for labs and hooked me up to the fluids. Wow those bags drained fast! The drip rate was more of a stream! I have never seen that before! They said that when you are dehydrated you can take in the fluids faster so I guess I was really dehydrated!

After I finished 2 bags of saline I was feeling a bit better. The doctor thought it was probably just a cold but we would not really know till my labs came back. Well I went home and started drinking tons of water and Gatorade (electrolytes). The labs came in the next day and everything looked normal, like, really normal, good actually! I was so confused! How could I have a fever but no increase in my white blood count? Well I did some reading and it made sense… bacteria can trigger a fever but would not show up in blood work, it shows up in a urine culture, which still (as of me writing this) has not come in. So at this point? I am thinking it is some kind of UTI but after a few days of a TON of liquids, Tylenol and cold medication I finally don’t have a fever and am not all congested!

I really want the results of that urine culture though! Hopefully they will come in today, I just want to know what it was, it’s bugging me! Only thing? I don’t get why a UTI would make me vomit? What was that? Maybe my body was just in panic mode because it was trying to fight something without the necessary forces so it just hit the “evacuate stomach button”? Haha I have no idea but either way? Being sick when immunosuppressed felt so much worse than being sick before Lemtrada, it was like a bad flu! I am so glad it seems to be ending.

Matt Allen G

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2010 at the age of 20. It's been a battle ever since and I have always shared my story and struggles online!

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