And this time the bad is not so bad and apparently it is not a permanent bad. Craig and I went into the cancer center today with the requisite snack and activity bags packed. I was wearing my sweats and slippers and carrying the lavender prayer shawl that I cozy under while I hold ice in my hands and under my feet. By all accounts we were ready for another chemo infusion. The night before we discussed that it was to be the 38th infusion of chemo in 17 months. That's a lot of rat poison.
Except for my usual anemia, my blood counts looked good. They've just started to ease downward so I certainly passed that test. It'll be later this week that I sink the lowest. However, the results of last week's pulmonary function test halted today's treatment. My transplant specialist at Sloan, Dr. Sauter, had ordered this test to have a look at my lungs and make sure that there weren't any signs of toxicity before pumping me with more GND. The test requires a series of inhales, breath holds, sharp exhales, long exhales, etc., done with a respiratory therapist.
Dr. Dailey informed me that the test portion that measures how well my lungs are able to diffuse oxygen into my bloodstream showed less than favorable results: 51% of predicted. This certainly explains why I am easily winded ... the oxygen can't get to where it's needed efficiently enough. This is obviously disheartening. I miss the other 49%. I was only in the 80th or so percentile when I had this test done pre-autologous transplant in April, showing that the Bleomycin in the ABVD regimen had already taken a toll on my lungs. Most recently, the Gemzar in GND can have the same toxic lung effects. This added insult to injury.
We waited while Dr. Dailey consulted by phone with Dr. Sauter at Sloan about what to do. It was decided to spare me any further damage and to pull the plug on this last infusion. Instead, the transplant date will be sooner. Get out the eraser ... again.
I'm happy about getting things moving I guess, but I'm not happy about this lung damage news. However, I'm told it's not a permanent condition. Once this is all over, my lungs, like everything else that has been damaged, will be able to rebuild. I believe it. I've been impressed over and over at how my body has been able to bounce back. Though I'm discouraged now, I know it's not forever and half capacity is better than no capacity.
So now I'm on the full-speed transplant train. This is actually going to happen. Next Tuesday I'll go back to Sloan for a marathon day of pre-transplant testing. Then, I'll head to the city again on Friday to see the doctor and go over it all. I could be admitted and starting the whole shebang by the week of September 27th. That's 12 days from today. This is pending any new developments of course.
The day has been a mishmash of emotions. I had to take an intense walk with some classic Dave tunes blaring to blow off some anxiety steam. I'm not sure really what I feel right now. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Yes. Yes. And, yes.