Monday, July 28, 2008


Where do I begin?

As predicted the x-ray of my chest is worse and the eosinophils (EOS) are still out of control. So. . . . what's going on?

Dr. Forman knows I'm a researcher, so he first explored how much I know about illnesses related to eosinphils. I told him, "From what I've read, the elevated EOS and my symptoms seem consistent with either Idiopathic Hypereosinphillic Syndrome (HES) or Chronic/Acute Eosinophillic Leukemia. They present the same way, but the leukemia version has clonal cells."

It turns out, that's what he was thinking/fearing too. Both are rare conditions, but for the disease to follow on the heels of MCL (another rare cancer) would be as likely as being struck by lightning. Twice.

Nonetheless, time is of the essence in arriving at the correct diagnosis, and Dr. Forman knows this. Those out of control EOS can start to invade and damage all the organs of the body, including the heart. He immediately wrote up orders for another chest x-ray and chest CT scan, and I'll revisit him on Thursday. I'm also waiting to find out when I'll be scheduled to see the pulmonary specialist. Dr. Forman said the specialist would do a biopsy to find out if EOS are in the lungs.

It's so comforting to have the kind of care where things are happening immediately and I don't have to exert any of my own energy to make them happen. And I'm grateful that all of this is being done on an out-patient basis.

I guess I need to keep hitting the chocolate milkshakes because I'm still losing weight. (Did you know that a Jack in the Box choco shake has 880 calories?) I'm down to a scrawny 113 pounds.

I was looking forward to going back on the steroids so that I could once again become a fully functioning human. But the steroids would affect both the blood and chest results and cloud the diagnosis. (As a matter of fact, Kiki was encouraging me to contact Dr. Forman for steroids while we were in SF, and I told her pretty much the same thing about not wanting to distort what Dr. Forman would see today.)

Darn! I had the most fun and interesting week planned, starting with dinner at Tender Greens in Culver City and an IWOSC meeting tonight. Later in the week, I'd planned to have lunch at Larkin's with three girlfriends, drinks with friends I haven't seen for years and Mojitos on the lawn at the Caltech Athenaeum. I was also going to be a guest on Shirlee Smith's Talk About Parenting cable show. I don't think I want to be gasping for air while I'm on the air, so I'll have to call in my backup.

Bottom line is that we still don't know what "it" is, but we have our suspicions and the brilliant Dr. Forman is on the case.


Paula L. Johnson said...

Idiopathic Hypereosinphillic Syndrome? Who makes up these long scary names?

When Dr. F figures out how to fix what ails you, I think it's only fair that you share the credit for the cure. I'm thinking....

The Forman/Smookie Protocol

(I put his name first because of that whole med school thing. However, you're practically his intern.)

Susan Carrier said...

You know how we writers are - we're such know-it-alls.