The short version: I’m back on Herceptin, people! The report from my echocardiogram is three pages long, and every section contains the word normal in it. I love being normal on medical reports. Normal and boring: that’s me! Yes!
The long version: I became a cardiac patient because my ejection fraction (EF) (the pumping quality of my heart–specifically the left ventricle) dropped below fifty percent. My heart was probably damaged by my first chemo drug; administering this drug was a calculated risk, and the ugliness of my cancer warranted use of the biggest weapon in the box. An EF of <50% is suboptimal. To try to restore heart function and improve EV, I was put on medication in August. Yesterday’s echocardiogram showed that my EF is now in the range of 55-60%–woo hoo! Not only has my heart function not dropped, but it actually improved since my last echo in August. Dr. Gold, appropriately, gets a gold star because my heart medications are doing their job.
I am thrilled. I’m really glad that my 33-year-old heart has gotten with the program, and seems to understand that we can’t have any decreased functionality because–ahem, I am 33 and have a lot of living to do!
There is still this pesky question: if my EF has improved and my echocardiogram shows normal function, then why am I having cardiac symptoms? Maybe a radiation side effect? Maybe something else? I will see Dr. Gold (cardiologist) next week and he will weigh in. None of my doctors feel this is an urgent situation, so I am content to shrug and go with it. After these echocardiogram results, I am feeling really good about my long-term cardiac condition, as well as the likelihood that I will be able to stay on Herceptin.
I’ve been thinking about faith today. To be honest, I’ve lost some faith in my body: it let me down in a big way. Breast cancer at 32? Really, body? Heart damage at 33? Really, heart? It is inspiring to me to see how God is using doctors, medicine, and technology to heal my broken body.
Medicine offers percentages and statistics to explain and predict. The numbers don’t make me feel better; especially when I’m on the wrong side of the percentage. I feel lucky that I’m able to rest in my faith and know that God is good, and He is working. Come what may.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. –Psalm 62:5-8