Mark and I had a much-awaited meeting with Dr. Campbell this morning. My breathing has gotten worse over the last weeks and I’ve gotten increasingly wiped out and worried. I was certain that my breathing issues were either due to the many pain meds I’m on or to increased fluid in my right lung after the removal of one drain. We also hypothesized that I could be anemic (low hemoglobin) as I often am.
Dr. Campbell saw us shortly after 8 a.m. He was prepared to change my chemotherapy because of my slightly higher tumor markers, but was a bit surprised at how I looked–especially that I had used a wheelchair to get there so that I wouldn’t have to stop to catch my breath so often. My hemoglobin was fine. He immediately ordered a CAT scan with a wet read (immediate reading by a radiologist). He was checking for 4 things.
1. fluid around the heart
2. fluid in the pleural space around the lungs
3. a blood clot in the lung
When we saw him a few hours later, he let us know that none of these were evident. I have only a slight increase in pleural fluid on my left lung and a slight increase in tumor size. He said that if he had to pin it on something, he would choose the slight tumor growth. So, essentially, it is good that I don’t have any of the four candidates listed above, but it is still frustrating to find myself so short of breath. I am fine when I am sitting, but if I walk from one room to another or up a flight of stairs I need a fair bit of time to recover.
I will start a new chemotherapy that we hope brings the tumors and fluid back under control. Abraxane. My first dose will be on my regular chemo day next week. It should have similar side effects to other chemo I have had–possible hair loss, maybe neuropathy.
I will try to be patient in the meantime. Getting so wiped out and being so dependent on others is hard for me. Mark has been beyond perfect. My parents ever-helpful. My colleagues understanding. Friends and family so quick with meals and other wonderful help. And yet I struggle against the limitations.
The waiting of the advent church season and my own waiting match up once again this year. And yet, I don’t find I’m much better at it. It’s abundantly clear that I’m still desperately in need of all that grace lying in a manger.