Part of my treatment plan requires that I go for regular blood tests. I have to go every other Tuesday (the day before chemo) to make sure my counts are high enough for me to tolerate chemo, and exactly a week after chemo, again, just to check my counts.
So, this week was just my week after chemo blood test. What usually happens, is Neil and Jake come with me, so that Neil can sit in the corridor with Jake, as it’s quite cramped in there and there isn’t room for a buggy. This week, we thought we’d play it differently; instead of getting Jake in his car seat, making sure we had changing bag etc, Neil said he’d stay at home with Jake, and I’d go for the blood test. Makes sense, right? It was a nightmare when I got there. I’m usually told to sit down, and am seen and off again within 10 minutes or so. Wednesday was really busy, and I had to wait an hour, just for a blood test.
When the nurse eventually came over and took my bloods, she asked how I was feeling generally. I mentioned a few niggles, but the one she was most interested in was my breathlessness. I get breathless really quickly these days, and I put it down to the fact that the Bleomycin is known to cause lung problems. She went and spoke to Tim (the consultant on the day unit) and then came and checked my oxygen levels, then made me walk up and down two flights of stairs, and then I was to go back and have my oxygen levels checked again. There wasn’t any difference in the levels, so Tim came over and had a listen to my chest. He noticed that my right lung and left lung sounded different, so he decided to send me for a chest x-ray. I questioned this as I have my PET scan booked for Monday anyway, so did I really need a dose of unnecessary radiation? Tim’s reply was that normally he wouldn’t but because he could hear a difference he just wanted to make sure nothing untoward was going on.
I was really annoyed with myself at this point, and wished I hadn’t said anything to the nurse as this meant more waiting. Luckily though, I only had to wait about two minutes for my x-ray. I then had to trundle back up to the day unit where Tim told me to take a seat while he had a nose at my x-ray. Then he called me over…..
He showed me the x-ray I first had in December. The x-ray showed a great big mass on my right lung (which is the lymphoma) but also that my right lung hasn’t got as much capacity as it should. Technically the right should have more than the left because the heart takes up some of the room on the left. However, my right lung is smaller than my left as my diaphragm is higher than it should be. When I had my op done in January, Mr Kalkat (the surgeon) said that the phrenic nerve was involved in the mass, so this nerve basically controls the diaphragm, and because it may have been damaged, this could be what’s causing my diaphragm to squash my lung, or something along those lines anyway.
Then he showed me the x-ray that I’d just had done…
The diaphragm is still higher than it should be, although I can’t remember if it was better or worse than December. I wasn’t paying attention. What I WAS paying attention to is that the great big mass (which the surgeon registar in January reckoned was about 10cm x 5cm, and grew even bigger between then and my PET scan in February!)……..
……..WAS NOT THERE!!!!!
And whilst, I know that this doesn’t mean I’m out of the woods just yet, and I still have to wait for my PET results next week, this is really positive stuff and I am so relieved, I can’t even begin to tell you how much!