Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Madness of My Method

Well, that plan worked well! Unfortunately, in the "kick or get kicked" stance I took, I got kicked. But at least the symptoms are no longer borderline and hard to pinpoint!

I woke up Tuesday with the pain in my lungs worse again. By the time I was driving home from my antibody infusion on Tuesday, I knew I wouldn't be driving anywhere anytime soon. I was already in real pain in the shoulders and neck again, plus had a headache. These are not good signs.

Wednesday was completely ridiculous. Breathing was painful, and coughing was OVER THE TOP. All I could do was try to hold my shoulders and neck while I tried to cough very lightly. Forget doing anything; you can't function in this kind of pain and misery. I was completely bedridden and felt like an elephant was crushing my chest, but--almost unbelievably, if this weren't me we were talking about-- still had no temperature. I just read and dozed and enjoyed the rare rain and thunderstorms.

By today, I was beyond miserable. I just wanted to go to a hospital and have them keep me alive, because I didn't have what it takes to stay alive in me (but have no plans to give up or quit now). My temp was just below 100 deg and I felt like I couldn't breathe. And oh, the pain! Torso up was crushing misery.

Good thing my pulmonology and cardiology appointments were scheduled for today! I've been waiting for them. Maybe now my symptoms are obvious enough that we can figure out what's going on! My family drove me into town while I just tried to survive the misery that was passing for still breathing.

It was the pulmonologist who made the correlation between when I first got worse and the effects of the steroid shot wearing wasn't the antibiotic or even the elevation. Between that data point, my pronounced symptoms, and the two doctors; we think we've figured out that I am suffering from pericarditis and pleurisy -- inflammation of the heart lining, and inflammation of the lung (and chest) linings.

The pulmonologist did not want to give me steroids, but didn't know anything else that would work in my current situation. So he wrote a prescription for Prednisone and told me to discuss it with my other drs. Prednisone! Oooh, that one packs the weight on worse than almost all the other steroids! I HATE it!

Thankfully, the cardiologist was also reluctant to put me on Prednisone; he was concerned that might be a one-way ticket for me. He knew another drug, not a steroid, that is the first-line drug for pericarditis and is an anti-inflammatory. It should take care of the whole problem.

He thinks the "elephant crushing my chest"; pain; and breathlessness will be improved in a couple of days. Then it will take a couple of weeks to completely kick the inflammation.

So I'm starting on the new drug tonight; I've got some sort of breathing test on Tuesday before all my oncology appointments; and I get to see both drs again in a couple of weeks. By which point I told them I expect to be bouncing off the walls with energy, and have some color back in my face! I really really really need to be rebuilding if I'm gonna make our summer backpack trip!

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