Friday, January 27, 2012

The Tests Have Ended…For Now

It has been a long three weeks of driving to Seattle each day for blood draws, tests, x-rays, MRIs and just about every other kind of test.  I was very worried about having an MRI after my nightmare experience in the hospital last January.  I do realize that my mind was affected by pain killers at the time.  However, the thought of having another one and hearing all the crazy loud noises was unsettling, but  I have learned that having an MRI with a clear mind is not so bad.  

I have had two setbacks during all of this. The first was a heart sonogram that showed that I had a thickening of the wall of one chamber of my heart.  This sent me to see a University of Washington cardiologist.  What a brilliant doctor!  He said my condition could be genetic or it could be caused by the cancer giving off proteins that were building up in the heart.  After a heart MRI complete with headphones and Mozart, the diagnosis was hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and it is genetic.  It was very good news that it wasn’t caused by the cancer.  As I write this, I have on a 24 hour heart monitor and will see the doctor again on Friday and have a stress test.  He has been in consultation with my team doctors because they need to know exactly everything about my heart.  I am sure they don't want any surprises.

My second setback was needing a breast biopsy.  This nearly sent me into a tailspin.  After my mammogram, I knew there was some calcification and that they were going to request my records from  my local clinic.  When I didn’t hear any more, I thought everything was fine.  Monday evening I had a call from my team PA to say I needed a breast biopsy.    The delay was caused by the clinic sending my last CT scan instead of my last mammogram.  It had to be reordered and, thus, the delay.  I was very upset about this and had a minor meltdown. Yesterday, I had the biopsy.  They don’t really think it is anything, but they have to know for sure.  I don’t have the results, yet.  It has really felt like my physical body is at war with my soul lately.

My Hickman Line was placed today. It is a central line that has two lines hanging out of the chest and it will be used throughout the transplant process for blood draws, chemo infusions, and harvesting  and transplanting the stem cells.  I broke down when the sedation nurse was explaining it. This is the first time I have shed a tear, except at home, since this all began last January.  I have dreaded having this Hickman Line and seeing it every day dangling from my chest. Not only will it be an ugly sight, it will be a complete reality check and reminder of the gravity of my situation.  It was just too much for me today after my setbacks.  The nurse was wonderfully supportive and the doctor was compassionate and empathetic.   With their expert care, I got through it pretty well.

I will enter the University of Washington Medical Center  on Monday and begin the chemo…………

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