Thursday, February 18, 2010

Had my PFT today

I had a pulmonary function test today to see what impact the pneumonitis (induced by radiation) had on my lung function. I haven't heard from the doctor, but the tech who performed the PFT indicated that my lung function looked just fine to him. Obviously he's NOT a doctor, and he didn't compare it with previous tests, but it's certainly encouraging that there's no obvious impact at this point. My understanding is that when lung function is compromised there are some tell tale signs on the graphs and calculations on the test results.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recovering Again?

I've got a Pulmonary Function Test scheduled tomorrow to evaluate the pulmonary inflamation from the radiation. What got me into the doctor for this was having a terrible exercise session, where I had no energy, a persistent cough, and pain at the radiation site.

After finally getting in to see the doctor (as soon as snow would allow) on Monday she scheduled it and indicated she would treat based on those results.

Since then I've been on the trainer twice for about 40 minutes at a time. But no heart rate monitor, and no training video. I watched regular TV and pushed myself only as I felt up to it. Both sessions went pretty well, and after tonight I think my inflamation may be resolving itself. I certainly feel better comparatively. I'll find out for sure I guess when I get the results from tomorrows test. I suppose the best case scenario is that it IS resolving itself and no meds are needed.

Have I mentioned I'm way tired of not being well?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wasting time with doctors

My radiation oncologists office left me a message this mornign asking if I could reschedule my appointment earliear in the day on Thursday. This could have been good news as the same day I have an appointment with my medical oncologist in the morning. The best they could do was 1:00, which would ruin any attempt by me to actually spend any time at work. At that point I asked if I could just be given a prescription for steroids to deal with the lung inflamation from the radiation. Of course they had to transfer me to a nurse to answer that question. So I ask the nurse the same question. She checks with the rad. onc. and then informs me that my med. onc. should be prescribing the meds.

I took 10 seconds to process this information, then asked why I needed to see the rad. onc. at all? Since I had just seen him for a radiation follow up, described my symptoms, and had him tell me to deal with my med. onc. for any treatment. At this point, as far as I was concerned, he HAD his chance to poke and prod me as he saw fit. If he wasn't going to prescribe me anything to deal with my current problem, I didn't see the point in having my schedule ruined to see him again. I had myself transferred back to the scheduling office and cancelled the appointment.

I'm generally willing to keep doctor appointments to do any follow ups. I feel the more contact I have with the doctors involved in my care the better. What I'm unwilling to do is loose a day of work when I can't see ANY benefit from an appointment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I got an X-ray last week

So after getting sick a few weeks ago I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. 2 weeks of that had me calling my Oncologist. I didn't THINK it would amount to anything, but 2 weeks is one too many for me, and before I was diagnosed my main symptom was a persistent cough. Besides the cough, the last time I exercised (a week ago monday) I was only good for about 30 minutes and I had some chest pain at the radiation site when breathing heavily. It's about the weakest I've felt working out and a marked decline from my current levels of performance.

She ordered the x-ray which I was able to get Friday morning, before a scheduled follow up with the radiation oncologist. My regular doc thought it could be some scaring from the rads. When I saw the radiation doc I mentioned the symptoms and exercise difficulty, but didn't share this info. I don't want to get in between them, and at that point there were no results. He listened but gave no indication he thought it was radiation related and advised me to have my med. onc. follow me on it.

Friday I get a call from my med onc. She said preliminary results showed nothing related to the cancer. Today I got a second call from her nurse practicioner. Again, nothing related to the cancer, but there were apparenly some indications of scaring from the radiation treatment. Standard treatment for this is steroids to control the inflamation, so now I've got another follow up with the rad. onc. to get an Rx for the steroids.

Not sure how I feel about the rad. onc. throwing me back over the fence to medical in light of the x-ray results. They weren't in when I saw him, but he DID shoot my lungs and I mentioned the pain I had durring the exercise to him as well. I thought that might be a meaningfull symptom and it looks like that was the case. Even diminished, it seems I still know my body well enough to distinguish "somethings wrong" from "out of shape."

Even before the results I had resigned myself to stop pushing myself on getting my aerobic fitness back in short order. Even though my schedule didn't seem that ambitious, the way I felt after Monday made me re-evaluate even that much work. I felt I was pushing my body too hard right now for what it had been through. The first thing I've got to do is heal. Heal from the cancer treatment, heal from the cold I got, and, of course, heal from this lung inflamation. Spring will be here within a couple months (probably about the same time this snow finally melts) and I won't have to manufacture indoor bicycle rides. I'll be able to do my thing outside, at my pace. Instead of trying to meet a timetable of NOW I think the best thing is to just ride to enjoy it and let the fitness come as it may. Probably best to put the HR monitor away for a while.

Remember the old Florida commercial line, "I need it bad!" For the first time in my life I think I'm there. A week in the sun would do me just right right now.