Friday, May 9, 2008

More Tests

Well, I have one very smart dr, I'm here to tell you.

I cdn't breathe on Wed. when I went into town for the bone scan (and chauffeuring the little darlings everywhere on their routine). The wind was blowing here so badly, and the pollen count was really high. It's the kind of day where elderly and respiratory-compromised people have to stay inactive. Unfortunately, I had joined the group.

I coughed and choked and hacked, and have rattle-y congestion deep in my chest. I have literally gone from climbing Saddleback Butte and flying back East to being completely flat on my back in bed, miserable as can be. I've NEVER had an allergy reaction like this, so it was really apparent to me that my lungs are indeed compromised. (The lungs starting to burn again was one of the symptoms I reported to my dr on Tuesday).

I had called my oncology nurse and had a plan of action that worked pretty well. We got some benedryl in me, and later some sudafed, and I was not struggling quite so much to breathe. I even got some sleep...eventually and fitfully. But I still had DH call on Thurs and tell the nurse to let the dr know we probably need to find out what's going on with the lungs (metastasis-wise) before my Tues appt to follow up the bone scan. They apparently stat'd the order, and I was at the hospital outpatient imaging center by Thursday afternoon.

I was still miserable, having a tough time breathing and a POUNDING headache. Also, I was very lightheaded. I don't know how much was from the allergies, how much was from the OTC drugs, how much was from lack of oxygen, how much was from possible mets to the lungs. I just knew this is NOT GOOD.

To top it all off, the poor technician had an AWFUL time trying to get the IV into the ONE vein we can was simply a vicious assault to get a needle in me (and not due to any incompetence on her part, or I wd've made them get someone else). I came up off the chair at least twice, and I'm pretty good at needles these days, so that's saying A LOT.

They got me in the ct scan machine for a scan of my chest. I asked them when the last one we did was; it was last year but I can't remember whether it was March (when mets was everywhere) or July (when the mets had been knocked down). So I was all lined up in the machine to do comparative scans. We did a couple pictures, but then, when it was time to put the contrast in the IV, they stopped the test and said they had to look for something different than just metastasis -- they were looking for a pulmonary embolism (PE)!

Apparently, the symptoms I presented with are also indicative of PE, and I *had* just flown on a plane (which can cause Deep Vein Thrombosis, so you can throw a clot). Since the symptoms had come on so suddenly and just days after the flight, I said, I have one very smart dr.

So they had to take me back to the technician again to remove THAT IV and put in another HUGE diameter one instead. Yep, another vicious assault (and these last a long time, took almost 30 minutes to get the first one in), worse than the previous one. You cannot believe how that arm/that vein looks today! A big huge GOOSE EGG.

So finally got the IV in, had to wait for the machine again (previous wait was almost an hour)...had to wait until the radiologist read it and called upstairs to the dr's office (which was now closed but had a nurse standing by for the results) before they wd release me to go home. I didn't think it was a PE, but only because I don't think I cd survive a PE. So I just read magazines (finished two) until they confirmed for me that it wasn't a PE and I cd go home around 6:30 in the evening.

But the dr's nurse called at 9:00 this morning, and wants me there on Mon morning (not Tuesday afternoon, as already scheduled). He is off on Fridays, but she told me that the dr said if I'm still struggling to breathe, to come in and see one of the other doctors. I'm doing better; we are controlling the allergies with sudafed, which I believe are what was making it so hard to breathe (given my already compromised lungs).

So I think we are just going to be moving on with another treatment approach to the metastasis, as I believe the scans are showing lesions in both the bones and the lungs.

And so we'll just keep moving on in this 21st C, where 4th-stage cancer is a chronic condition that we are doing our best to manage until a cure comes along. i'm glad i was able to spot the symptoms, given that i had a great PET scan result just 2.5 months ago. By staying on top of it, I will be able to keep beating it back into submission until my body can heal once and for all.

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