Auntie-Embolism

I keep reminding myself that ‘objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.’  And some days, I think it’s actually a fun house mirror!  Here’s how I planned my Friday – and how it actually turned out.  Blossom, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

PLANNED Event: Join significant other for his work holiday party!

  • Location: Chickie’s & Pete’s
  • Attire: Dark purple fleece top, lace camisole, jeans
  • Feast: Scotch, Crabfries, other
  • Entertainment: Friends, music, games!

ACTUAL Event: Join nurses and doctors for a CAT scan!

  • Location: My oncologist’s office and local ER
  • Attire: Ladies’ open-back cotton gown, 20 gauge IV hub
  • Feast: Saline, Benadryl, Decadron, and iodine contrast agent via IV
  • Entertainment: Laser lights in the CT scanner, Neighboring patients (including one angry, blown-vein heroin user)

Breathing has been getting a little more difficult each day for the past week.  I decided it was better to address it at 2pm on Friday with my doctor instead of Sunday in the ER.  The oncology office asked me to come right over to see what was going on.  (I really like these people.)

Upon examination, they decided the best thing was to rule out a pulmonary embolism.  And seeing as how you can’t get an appointment with the radiology department at 4pm on a Friday, I was headed to the ER.  The office did a really good job communicating with the ER doc, and everything was quite seamless.  Seth left his party to be with me in the ER, even though this was a normal scan. (He’s incredible.)

So here’s the summary:

  • How does it feel?  When I can’t breathe as much as I would like, I experience some or all of these symptoms: tingly or numb fingers/toes/tongue, light-headed feeling, spaciness, increased heart rate, clamminess, sweating, anxiety.
  • GOOD NEWS: My pulse-ox is nearly perfect even when I feel like this.  All these things make me feel crappy but are causing me no harm.
  • What’s going on?  Simply stated, I’m chronically hyperventilating because I can’t breathe deeply.
  • Why now?  The educated guess is two-pronged: 1) progression of the cancer and 2) I just started weaning off the prednisone.  Friday was my 2nd day at the decreased dosage (60mg to 40mg).  Less prednisone (and assuming Xalkori isn’t doing anything yet) means less control of inflammation.  Less control of inflammation means less breathing.
  • Next Steps?  I’m back up to 60mg of prednisone effective immediately.  My oncologist returns from vacation on Monday, and I’m expecting a call then.  Stay tuned…
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One response to “Auntie-Embolism

  • Jessica

    I’ve started including some ‘bonus content’ in the comments section of my posts. If you’ve discovered it, enjoy!

    The original title of this post was “Best-Laid Plans.” It was inspired not by Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” but instead by the poem that inspired the book title. Robert Burns penned “To a Mouse” 150 years before the novel was published.

    The final stanza addresses what I consider to be a superiority of non-human species: the ability to adapt to harsh situations without excessive emotional attachment. The old man, speaking to the mouse, says:

    Still you are blest, compared with me!
    The present only touches you:
    But oh! I backward cast my eye,
    On prospects dreary!
    And forward, though I cannot see,
    I guess and fear!

    You may read the whole poem and a summary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_a_Mouse

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