I’ve had three different medical appointments in the last two days, but at least now there’s nothing on my calendar for the rest of this week.
Yesterday I saw my ophthalmologist for the first time in three or four months. Good news all the way around. My glaucoma is stable; there have been no changes due to all the cancer treatments or to anything else. My intraocular pressures (IOP) in both eyes are at good levels. When I told him I was concerned about all the corticosteroids (inhalers and prednisone), he said that steroids had ceased to be a concern when I had my glaucoma surgery. With the filters (drains) in place in both eyes, there’s no risk of a sudden, unrelieved increase in pressure. So great news there. Going forward I can stop worrying about the steroids messing with my glaucoma.
My first stop this morning was for pulmonary function tests (PFTs). Trying to track down the cause of the ongoing cough. Results were very good. Put me in the upper half of women my age and size. One reading was a bit less than optimal, but I forget which one it was. The shortcoming was attributed (later, by my medical oncologist) to either lung inflammation or a part of my lung still being compromised/collapsed/not fully functioning. But it’s up to a pulmonologist to read the results and produce the still-to-come official report.
Then I went down a couple of floors to see my oncologist for the first time since before I started radiation treatments. He asked all the usual questions and checked all the usual things and except for the cough, I’m in good shape.
I asked him a lot of questions about the last CT scan and report and what it meant. He said there was nothing on the scan that wasn’t there before. The radiologist had simply made more detailed notes than the previous radiologist. Still apparent is some thickening and inflammation from an undetermined cause and an area that continues to look somewhat collapsed/non-functioning. I’ll get more details and opinions from the pulmonologist next Monday, after she takes a complete history. (I thought surely by now every detail of my life was already in my record.)
The oncologist said that since it appeared from the tests that the two inhalers were not doing any good (which I’d already concluded), I could discontinue them. However, since I already have them (and have paid for them), I think I’ll continue with them until the full PFT report is in and I’ve seen the pulmonologist. (Besides, the PFT tester gave me a little device he called a “spacer” that should improve my inhalation of the albuterol.)
The new CT scan the pulmonologist ordered (scheduled for Dec. 9) is to be a high res scan (HRCT). The last one was not. So more detail, sharper definition. Want to see everything seeable. Makes sense to me.
Also suggested by the oncologist was that the cough might be one of my allergies which is not normally a problem but, with my weakened immune system and irritated lungs, became a problem. That had occurred to me too, but only because my housekeeping has been virtually nonexistent since my surgery in May. He suggested mold, but with Denver’s extremely dry climate and my determination not to use humidifiers and invite mold, I tend to doubt it; I’m always on guard against mold. My suspects would be dog hair, cat hair, or dust/dust mites. Anyway, that will be a topic of discussion with the pulmonologist. Meantime, I should probably do some cleaning around here.
Perhaps the best news today was that I’m starting my hormonal therapy, the aromatase inhibitor (Aromasin) that I’ll be taking once a day for five years (assuming it causes no really nasty side effects; I’m thinking positive). The oncologist assured me he had not been postponing it. He was simply waiting for me to finish radiation therapy, and today was my first appointment with him since radiation ended. He’s still going to hold off on the Herceptin until the cough resolves.
So, the good news for the last two days: I’m in no danger of going blind, and the cancer treatment is moving forward. Good. Would hate to cure the cancer but go blind doing it.