Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tests and Rest

I was a busy patient yesterday as doctors tried to diagnose the root cause of my pneumonia. In addition to my regular visit with Dr. Forman, I met with a pulmonologist and two infectious disease specialists. I had another chest X-ray, a CT scan and a diagnostic bronchoscopy.

When I wasn't testing or talking, I was sleeping. I cat-napped between procedures and then went down for a 2.5 hour snooze until George visited at 8:30 pm. I woke up feeling fatigued and fiery hot, and soon found out that I had a 103 degree fever.

Apparently, I'm still not on that "magical" antibiotic bullet and doctors admit we're still in a "let's try everything and hope that one will be the right one" approach.

Dr. Forman also introduced the possibility that bleomycin, one of the chemo drugs I took before the stem cell transplant, has downsized my lung capacity. The side effects usually rear their ugly head about two months after administration.

I first read about the possibility of lung damage last year on the blog of Jenna, another one of Dr. Forman's auto stem cell transplant patients. The treatment is Prendisone, a powerful steroid that restores lung capacity while temporarily puffing up the face and belly and giving me the ability to hit one out of the ball park. Naturally, when Dr. Forman brought up Prendisone, I winced, but puffiness beats breathlessness.

The bleomycin effect could also explain the other symptoms, such as high temps, low blood pressure and dipping blood counts.

I'm hoping that we'll have most of the answers by tomorrow.


Idelle Davidson said...

Thinking of you.

frankie said...

Dear Susan,
Sorry to hear about the current aggravations. At least you're surrounded by a group of experts. A majority of the time when I have to go see a doctor (in a sliding-scale clinic) I always feel they have no clue. Now that I watch the show HOUSE, MD, I often find myself fantasizing that he was my doctor, I bet he would know!
I hope you feel better soon.

Margaret Finnegan said...

Good luck. I'm glad everyone is taking good care of you.

janet aird said...

Take care Susan - sounds like you're in great hands

Kim said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on my blog...and my goodness, You will be in my prayers, my dear. I pray the pneumonia heals very soon!

Mrs. Duck said...

I'm sending thoughts of health, strength and increased lung capacity your way. From experience, the worst thing about prednisone is that you become ravenously hungry and, if you're not careful, you gain weight! And that's a whole lot better than not being able to breathe.

Mrs. Duck