Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cleared to 10,000 ft

It was one of those weeks where, once again, going to doctors and fighting cancer proved to be a full-time job. It wore me out. On Tuesday alone I had two dr appts, and came out of them with five more!

I saw the current relevant trio: the cardiologist, the oncologist, and the pulmonologist. The cardiologist is pleased with how I am recovering and cleared me to go to higher altitudes. We discussed the fact that I am still struggling to get rid of the pericarditis, but opted to not start a diminishing course of Prednisone. My body is so close to defeating it; I want to give it a chance. He told me it was okay to push physically while I am trying to overcome the pericarditis.

The cardiologist felt the reason why I am still struggling with nausea and vomiting is not due to the liver lesions but rather a consequence of the drug I was taking for the pericarditis and pleurisy. He offered me an Rx for gastritis, but of course I declined that too, as I loathe polypharmacy. Instead, I stocked up on yogurt with good enzymes and bacteria for my digestive tract.

The oncologist is pleased that I am finally getting over all these nuisance issues with the cardiopulmonary systems. Our game plan is to continue infusions of the monoclonal antibody and resume infusions of the bone medication. At the end of July, we will do more CT scans; if the lesions in the liver are stable or improved, I will skip the toxic chemotherapies. So I've got one month for my body to kick those cancer lesions out without having to resort to poison.

The pulmonologist held the biggest surprise for me. It turns out the reason why I am still struggling to get well from the lung problems is that I've had undiagnosed asthma, probably since childhood. The breathing test doesn't lie; I have a SIGNIFICANT bronchial restriction. I always thought it was just allergies; the superior lung capacity I enjoy after a lifetime of swimming has apparently always mitigated the problem for me.

He prescribed a couple of inhalers for me; the first one I am using twice a day for two weeks to try to resolve this residual coughing/choking/breathing issue I've been having. After that, I just use a regular inhaler as needed, like anyone else diagnosed with asthma. Given my track record, I don't expect to need it!

The best part was he cleared me to climb to 10,000 ft altitude. He'll be seeing me again in August, before I plan to climb higher than that. So I am on track to make this year's backpack!

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