Symptoms (or not?)
The following post includes very intimate details about my body, including my vagina and my bowel movements. If you don't want to read those details, you will want to go back to the blog.
As you will see by the end of this, the following side effects may or may not actually be attributed to Letrozole. I began this post to keep a diary of my symptoms, but there's a good chance that everything was a coincidence. Please do not take this post as medical advice or as describing typical side effects of Letrozole. This is an anecdotal account.
Okay, first day of medication. I don't expect a ton of side effects, today, especially because I took my first pill with dinner. It just seems like the best way to make sure that we both take the vitamins that we were recommended.
Again, not a lot of side effects. This is going so well! Tonight, Chris wants to have sex, which is fine at first. However, sex is painful. It feels like my vagina is raw. Maybe it's because I'm early in my cycle or because the medication reduces my estrogen and therefore my natural moisture. Either way, I make a mental note to use lubricant while I'm on this med, just in case.
I woke up this morning with a pain in my lower back. Is it a result of last night's intercourse? Or is it something else?
It's on my lower right side, which causes a little concern, but I don't have a fever. I'm familiar with mittelschmerz (pain during ovulation), and this isn't unlike that. Except, instead of happening for a few minutes to an hour, this is persisting.
I'm hopeful this means that my ovaries are going into high gear to produce more than one egg.
Okay, OW. This hurts. A lot. A lot, a lot.
Like on the improved pain scale, I'm a solid 6
It feels like there's a knife in my lower back that's twisting slowly and methodically. I am so tired I get full body chills where I shake so bad I can't function. Luckily, I work from home, and am able to talk to my boss who lets me go lie down. I take an hour-long nap (I have never done this during a work day) under 5 blankets, and when I wake up, I feel better.
I call the fertility clinic and ask if this is normal. They seem concerned, but have to ask the doctor. The answer I get it, "It's not not normal, but it's not normal either."
So, good news, the pain hasn't gotten worse.
Bad news, the pain hasn't gotten better.
I am breathless with pain. Actually, I take it back. The pain has gotten worse. I'm nearing a 7-8. I start shaking again and have to take another nap during work. (Have we talked about how great my job is?).
When I wake up, I'm drenched in sweat, and that's when I realize something's wrong. Something's really wrong. But I go back to work because that's what you do.
When Chris gets home again, I have another chill attack. This time, I'm shaking so hard it looks like an actor faking a seizure. He throws me in a hot shower and asks me if I want to go to the hospital. Oh silly man, hospitals are for when you're dying. We'll just go to the walk-in clinic tomorrow. (Note here that I have not broken out of the American view of healthcare.)
I wake up from the pain. I'm shivering under the blankets and can't get warm. I grab the extra blanket we have on the bed and pull it over me, folded in half. I'm still shivering. I do not go back to sleep. I spend the rest of the night in that half sleep where you're trying to convince you're asleep but you're not.
My stomach churns and I race to the bathroom. I now have full-blown diarrhea. Oh good. That's what I hoped for. I go back to bed.
Still shaking. I'm up and having diarrhea again.
Chris wakes up for work. I roll over and say, "I need you to take me to the clinic. I can't drive. I'm shaking too hard.
He again asks me if I want to go to the hospital. I say no.
I'm up and dressed in sweatpants and a scrub top. Chris asks me which walk-in clinic opens at 7. I check my phone. Almost all of them open at 9.
I ask him, "If we go to the hospital, would I get seen before 9?"
He tells me yes.
I start vomiting. Well, I have nothing in my stomach, so I dry heave for a good 5 minutes. Chris hands me a piece of toast as I sob. I take 3 bites and they taste like sand. It takes me all the way to the hospital to chew and swallow them.
We arrive at the hospital. There's no one in the waiting room. I tell them my symptoms and a look of panic sets into the triage nurse's eyes. She hands me a mask in case I have gastroenteritis which is hella contagious. I get into my own room within 5 minutes.
The doctor comes in, pushes on my tummy for a long time. This is excruciating.
He tells me they're going to do a blood lab, a urine screen, and an abdominal CT.
He sends the nurses in to start the IVs
The nurses start trying to put the IV in my veins. I'm so dehydrated they can't find one.
After about 8 tries, and some tears, the nurses call the "IV team"
The IV team arrives, takes one look at the holes in my arms, and slips a needle into a vein like Cinderella's foot into the glass slipper.
They give me a shot of morphine.
I am no longer in pain, and I'm floating. That's great. I love the IV team.
The doctor comes in. Looks at me and tells me I have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that went to my kidney. They hook me up to some Ciprofloaxin for an hour.
The pain has started to come back.
They give me more morphine
I have been half asleep and goofy for an hour. The meds are done, and they've decided to let me go.
It's in the car on the way to get my prescription that I look it up on my phone. There are some women who have recurring UTIs on Letrozole. So, I might be one of the "lucky" ones. Or I might have had a UTI cropping up when I started the meds, making it a fun coincidence.
But I should be all cleared up within 5 days.
Well, I'm still in pain, but I've returned back to a 5-6 rather than wanting to crawl into bed and die. So everything should work out.