Fevered Trifecta

After a relaxo Sunday, I woke up on Labor Day Monday with the chills – exactly what my new doc, Dr. P, of City of Hope told us was the worst possible thing for me at this time.  We headed to the Hoag Cancer Center for AFBT (Another F-ing Blood Test) and possible transfusions early in the morning, and when my temperature was taken upon arrival, it was very nearly 100 degrees, the point at which Dr. P said I needed to go to the ER immediately.  The nurses at Hoag told us that because it was a holiday, the ER was infested with tons of sick people and they were grossly understaffed with a very long wait.  That didn’t sound like a place where an extremely immune-compromised person with a fever should be hanging out.  Todd contacted several members of our team, and they agreed to let me stay at my HAFH (Hoag Away From Home) in my private room, as long as we kept a very careful watch on my temperature.  My blood test revealed that I had developed an antibody in my blood that needed further testing, so they took 2 huge vials of blood and made me pee in a cup and they sent it all out to the lab to get cultures started.  In addition to that, my white cells, which were on an upward climb, had slid back down to record lows, and my red cells and platelets were once again tanking.  I needed 1 unit of platelets and 2 units of blood to be transfused.  We were in for the full day.  I was so stoked that I had KK as my nurse for the entire 8 1/2 hours!  She is WONDERFUL!  My temperature flirted with that 100-degree mark, but never quite made it there.  We determined that while we were at home earlier that morning, I had probably been at that mark when I had the chills, so my docs decided to order an infusion of Invanz, an antibiotic, to try to ward off whatever was trying to invade my weak bod.  So there was the winning trifecta:  platelet transfusion, blood transfusion, Invanz infusion.  It was a great pay off, because my fever has not raised its ugly head (see below) since.

I like to ask from where the blood products that are about to become part of me have hailed.  The platelets were donated in Pomona and the blood was donated in Newport Beach (aka “beach blood”).  I was conflicted.  Should I drive home, directly onto the front lawn, jack up the car on blocks, open the hood, and start working on the carburetors -OR- grab some champagne and caviar then head directly to the yacht club for a highly civilized cruise around the harbor?

I’ve got to tell you, this Prednisone is really the sh*ts.  I am now sporting a mustache and beard to rival that of my great grandmother’s.  No, I take that back – I would kick her a$$ in a facial hair-off.  I remember running from the room, horrified as a young tike.  In addition to the whiskers, my skin could be used for any shop project requiring coarse grit sandpaper.  Furthermore, my cheeks have puffed up beyond the chipmunk look – now I resemble a hippopotamus.  Yes, PAB (Prednisone’s A Bitch).


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I am a survivor of two extremely rare diseases, thanks to over 100 blood transfusions and ultimately, a bone marrow transplant. My blog, joselynsbrawl.com, chronicles my adventures through medical offices, operating rooms, clinics, transfusion centers, hospital transplant floors, victory celebrations, and finally my bucket list items – all with a humorous and sometimes profane twist. My goal is to inspire others not to give up on life or anything else, and to understand that it’s actually possible to enjoy any experience, even battling a life-threatening illness (or two).

27 thoughts on “Fevered Trifecta

  1. You really need to look into writing a column or something when you are through this ordeal. Your talent is off the charts! Hugs.


  2. Holy Moley!!!! Give mee a f%cking break. Holidays suck. It is most unfortunate to get sick on a 3 day weekend. I am so glad that you got to Hoag and had the necessary treatment. My thoughts and prayers are with you. XO Elizabeth


  3. So, you’re getting a beard from the Pred, huh? How about the moon face, buffalo hump and gaining 25 lbs, all in the belly? I looked like a pregnant buffalo when I was taking 120mg/day and going on for pulse treatments! It definitely can present some wardrobe challenges! The worst part is becoming a total raving maniac and not knowing how to calm down! Do you remember the cartoon: Bing! Bing! Bing! Ricochet Rabbit?! That’s me on steroids! Glad to hear your fever didn’t spike any further, but those blood cultures don’t seem to leave enough blood in your veins to even keep you pink. Makes you wonder what comes next. Hopefully, COH comes up with a brilliant plan. In the meantime, we will continue to say daily prayers for you and send all our love~


      1. Ok, so let me give you some fun fashion tips:
        1) Wear loose moomoo-style frocks in bright, preferably loud prints. (Might as well make the most of that new bod)
        2) Make sure your undergarments are easily removable at a moments notice…you never know when that “urge” will strike
        3) Necklines with cut out backs are particularly flattering, as that hump needs some room to peak
        4) Consider tattooing the hump, for extra appeal
        5) Peter Pan collars are particularly flattering to Moon Face, as are turtlenecks and Nehru collars
        6) Don’t forget to show off those swollen ankles with skirts that skim just above the widest part
        7) Consider getting ankle bracelet extender to make use of a cute fashion look
        Now that you have some of the basics, fire up that machine and get sewing! (Just something else to do in the middle of the night, when you’re not peeing, drinking, eating or in your case, authoring your next blog!)

        Love ya, Jos~You are held close in my heart and you are an inspiration to me! Love the ‘tude…you rock! XO


  4. Hope you are on the mends Joselyn…On a funny note, the pilot got on the intercom on our flight out of OC to Oakland on Friday…”We have a rule to pull back on the engines as we fly over NB, not to disturb the wine and cheese people”. Over half the plane started cracking up, and I suddenly felt like wine and cheese!! haha! (I guess you had to be there, but it was funny) He must have forgotten that his plane was full of wine and cheezers….:) Praying for you Joselyn.


  5. Sweet friend, you amaze me with every post. You have managed to make standing weak-kneed on the edge of a cliff funny. You can really write. Is there anything you can’t do?
    You will get to celebrate your health. Remember that. XO Mary


  6. I had no idea you had been in the hospital all day ….glad you’re doing better and you hit the trifecta! I say you jack the car up and work on it!


  7. hi joselyn – dad would choose working on the carbuerators and I of course would choose the champaygne and caviar cruise!!! we love you so very much! mom and dad


  8. hi Jos, It sounds like you are in very good hands and I hope and pray that you are on the mend soon. You are such a good writer that you should definitely publish your blogs. They are so uplifting. The positive attitude that you have inspires me, especially with my spinal surgery coming up in two weeks. UGH!
    Hang in there.
    All my love and prayers, Bonnie Perry Tichenor


  9. Jos!

    So so sorry you are having this struggle-you are in my prayers and thoughts often.

    Maybe you need some good Lonergan blood-that should make you a new women? All kidding aside-I think all of us are A-negative!

    Love ya

    Beverly Hill Department Secretary Purchasing 1100 West Stewart Drive, Orange, CA 92868 T: 714-771-8188 F: 714-744-8505 http://www.sjo.org …………………………………………………………………………..



  10. Hope you are feeling better, Joselyn. You’re in my thoughts on an hourly basis. Prednisone is the best of drugs and simultaneously the worst of drugs. Don’t worry all it’s effects are reversible and you’ll be back looking like your beautiful, beardless self in no time.


  11. Jos, I just read a quote from a person named Napoleon Hill. He said “A positive mind finds a way it can be done; a negative mind looks for all the ways it can’t be done.” If there was ever a concise phrase to sum up you and Todd’s great outlook and attitude towards all you do, this does it. Attitude is everything to outlook and outcome. You can quote ME on that!! Love from Carolee and Lynn (Auunnty and Younkle) 🙂


  12. Jos, just thinking about what you go through makes all my aches and pains go away! You really will get through this. Your sense of humor is amazing, and I know Todd is a big influence behind that! Kudos to you, Todd! Your Mom said he has been an Angel, and I’m sure he has. We think of you daily, and pray for you. It sounds like you have the best team possible. Let’s hope that you get some results from the City of Hope quickly. We all want you back to your old self, although from your emails, you sound like your old self! You truly are amazing, Jos. When this is over, you should think about being an inspirational speaker to people who are very sick. What an impact you would have on their lives! It would probably work better than any meds they are taking, seriously. I think you could do wonders for people who are going through things like what you are going through. It’s amazing what a little humor can do for a person. It’s what gets you through life’s hard times.

    Hang in there, Jos. We are all pulling for you and love you SOOOOOOO much. I speak for Uncle John, too, since he’s a man of few words (if you get my drift).

    Love, Aunt Wendy and Uncle John

    P.S. About the hair on your face…once you get to be my age, you just accept the fact that you look like an ape. It’s part of life. You kind of forget about it if you avoid looking in the mirror. What is scary is when the sun shines on your face and the hair really shows up. Then it hits you….oh my gosh, is my face really that hairy? Yes, it is! Then, there’s the gas….oh my gosh! That’s why you have a dog, Jos. You can always blame it on the dog (or your Husband, whoever is closest). There are many other fun things about getting older, but I’ll just let you experience them for yourself. Why spoil all your fun! Ha, ha.


  13. Hi Jos, Wendy is right. You should be an inspirational speaker and write a book. Your humor is amazing and you could help so many people. Feel better.
    Love, Bonnie


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