Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cancer treatment didn't kill me

This will be brief because I am so, so tired.  No better way to keep myself brief than a numbered list.

1.  Sinuses.  Dr. Oncologist was on the same fence that I was on in yesterday's post about my inconclusive symptoms, so she sent me to Dr. Ear Nose and Throat.  His opinion was that my sinuses are not acute enough for surgery and we haven't tried everything in his non-surgical arsenal.  The antibiotics will be ceased and I am to shoot some steroids (Nasonex) up my nose every day, in addition to maintaining the sinus washes.  The goal of the 'roids is to open things up and let the sinuses drain on their own.  I predict another sinus UFO in my future.  I am very happy about this outcome.  I did not want surgery.  

2.  Heart.  I had an echo (ultrasound) of my heart today, and I suppose you could call it routine.  Dr. Oncologist wanted to check on my heart after chemotherapy, but she had to wait for all of my surgical and radiological wounds to heal.  My heart is in excellent condition.  This is outstanding news.  This in addition to all of the other ways I'm healing causes me to tentatively conclude that cancer treatment did not kill me.  This may not be news to you, but I am glad to finally have enough evidence to believe it for myself.  

3.  Lung (left).  What I don't think I have told you yet is that I am experiencing some shortness of breath in my left lung.  I biked to work last Friday and got a little unnerved when I couldn't catch my breath upon arrival.  Also, I run out of air even when I talk too much (as I did on Monday when training a new person in the lab).  Dr. Radiological Oncologist warned me that this decreased lung capacity may occur between 1 and 4 months after radiation.   This is because a sliver of my lung was in the radiation field and could not be avoided.  He said that this lung tightness usually resolves itself with time (although I am unclear if this is because the rest of my lung compensates or if the wounded lung heals).  Regardless, in light of my ongoing sinus woes Dr. Oncologist wanted a chest x-ray to rule out a lung infection.  I do not have these results yet.  Again, the left lung tightness is to be expected, and there is probably nothing more wrong with me.  Maybe I should sharpen my former tuba-playing skillz and exercise the lung with some John Philip Sousa.  

(Stars and Stripes Forever, performed by NY philharmonic.  Happy Independence Day, everyone!)

4.  In summary, it was a very busy day.  I was at the clinic for 6 hours and went from Echo to blood draw to Dr. O to chemotherapy to Dr. ENT to chest x-ray.  Whew.  No wonder I'm exhausted.  

5.  Now I am looking ahead to my first vacation since cancer started!  Woo-hoo!  This weekend I am driving the girls to scenic Columbia, MO, to visit my dear friend Martha and her triplets.  Should be epic in terms of cuteness and messiness.  Ian will not be joining us because I surprised him with a plane ticket to Seattle to visit my larger-than-life brother.  Tee-hee!  He deserves a vacation even more than I do.  Safe travels and safe celebrating to all of you!             


  1. I shall miss you all!!! Looking forward to the next overnight (which hopefully will include some real fireworks viewing) Safe travels Allen family.

  2. Have fun in Columbia - that is where Sarah and I grew up. Be sure to take the girls for a slice of pizza at Shakespeare's Pizza and put the order under the wackiest name you can think of!

    Pat S

  3. I'm so excited! I feel like I am about to be visited by celebrities. 3 lovely ladies and the Antonio Banderas bumblebee from the nasonex commercials :)

  4. Have a GREAT time! Wonderful news all around. Drive safely and as grandma Katie would say "watch out for weirdos!" Love you all tons!