Monday, August 03, 2020

What a Week

A lot happened last week. In a nutshell, I’m out of my clinical trial, and I spent 4 days in the hospital dealing with malignant fluid around my heart. 

I had been doing my monthly clinical trial visits virtually since March, but as things have been getting more worrisome (increasing shortness of breath) my Wizard wanted to do a full evaluation in person. So, I went from extremely careful pandemic behavior to getting on an airplane. I’m very glad I went. I had a full battery of testing, and discovered that I had fluid around my heart (pericardial effusion). My doctor was going to admit me on the spot, but understood that I wanted to come back home first, and felt it was safe to delay to later that day. My beloved family picked me up at the airport and dropped me off at the emergency room. At least I got to spend a few minutes with them. 

Thankfully, the heart issue was not what they considered “emergent” (no need to rush right into a procedure), and they were able to wait until the next day, make a plan, and get me scheduled. And I got a private hospital room, so that was nice. 

They placed a small drain into the pericardial sac and drained out the fluid. I had to stay in the hospital for three days to observe the draining, but it was largely uneventful (thankfully). The next steps are a follow up echocardiogram and then getting scheduled to start chemo. 

It’s funny looking back on how I have changed since I did chemo in 2013. Then, I was much more Season 1 Buffy (“give me something pointy and tell me where the big bad is”) and this time around I’m finding a lot of resonance with Season 6 Buffy (“Life isn’t bliss, life is just this, it’s living”). 

I’m going through the very painful repotrectinib withdrawal, which is certainly impacting my mood. The aches are remarkably similar to the entrectinib withdrawal I went through in 2018, so at least I know what these awful muscle pains are about. 

I’m holding out a lot of hope for my chemo redux. It worked amazingly 7 years ago, and all of my treatments since then have been laser-focused on the ROS1 mutation, so it makes sense to go more broad-spectrum.  

If you have some well-wishes to spare, I will happily accept. This is kind of a lot to absorb, plus pandemic and all. 

I love this song, and I feel like it could be the theme song for 2020. 

“Anger wants a voice, voices wanna sing 
Singers harmonize till they can't hear anything 
I thought that I was free from all that questionin' 
But every time a problem ends, another one begins 
And the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness
Anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight 
Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified
I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die.” 
- Vampire Weekend’s “Harmony Hall”