Tuesday, October 04, 2011

being the first

It turns out that a cardio-oncologist is a doc who knows something about the heart and oncology drugs. The guy I met yesterday looked way too young too have studied for that many years but really did seem to know his stuff.

Perhaps I'm just getting old.

Some things I learned:

My heart was permanently damaged by the Adriamycin. As a result, my ejection fraction has been bouncing around the low range of normal for years.

Echo cardiograms have a ten point margin of error, so my ejection fraction may not have dropped as much as it appeared.

I have no symptoms of heart failure.

Should I have the symptoms of heart failure, I should go to emergency (no kidding!).

There is no reason that I cannot engage in vigorous excercise (there goes my excuse for not running).

I don't need to stop Herceptin (awesome news).

I might have to go on a drug that protects my heart. The doc is on the fence about it right now but if my ejection fraction drops much more, than he will prescribe it.

Even then, I still won't have to stop Herceptin.

I am being sent for a MUGA - a different kind of heart scan - to see if it picks up anything different than my echo.

I mentioned that there must be some uncertainty, given that he likely hasn't seen many people who've been on Herceptin on a long term basis.

He told me that I am the first. But that there will likely be many more.


Average Jane said...

That all sounds promising.

Cáit said...

Great news. I hope to be one of those long term herceptin people too!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear that you can continue Herceptin. We both know that it is a miracle drug for some of us.
The young cardiologist must have had at least 4 years of Med School, 5 years of residency plus 2 years of fellowship... Actually my daughter who is also a physician, was quite upset when the patient told her" I do not want to see that young kid, I want to see a real doctor"
We all feel that way. I am not too happy when I see a family doctor trained as an oncologist instead of my oncologist.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Joanna said...

Sounds like you found a really interesting specialty there. I have been on Herceptin for three and a half years (tomorrow I will have about my 60th infusion, I think.) I am glad that you get to stay on the drug and that you EF may be better than you thought it was.

I have switched over from MUGA scans to echocardiograms because of radiation exposure. It sounds like the MUGA is a good idea for you because it is more precise.

Beth L. Gainer said...

I'm sorry about the heart damage. However, I'm glad you can continue your Herceptin and that your doctor seems on the case regarding your heart condition.

laurie said...

Thanks all!
Cait: I wish that for you too! Very much!
Kristina: I liked the doc very much and yes - I agree re Herceptin. I think it's a big reason I'm still alive.
Joanna: I've never given much thought to the radiation exposure of the echo. Good point. I hate MUGAs (because of the weird stuff they inject and how hard it is to find a vein) but you're probably right. I've been on Herceptin for almost five years...

Lene Andersen said...

woo! He sounds awesome. And I'm so relieved!

Sassymonkey said...

I am so relieved. We must make a date soon to celebrate!

(My word verification is "unithrob" and it's totally making me giggle.)