Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Accordion Blues

Funny that I should write about the old squeeze box of life the other day. You know the number - expand, contract, expand, contract. The point of that post was to talk about how my life has expanded.

But it turns out that my life has also been slowly contracting for the last 11 days. With a hacking cough that has turned me into a social pariah, I found myself making and breaking dates and staying home more. On top of the cough, I was short of breath from the smallest activity, like walking across a room. Add in fatigue (in spite of a healthy, daily dose of 60 mg of Prednisone), and I was very content to be housebound.

I can't believe this was the same person who, just 12 days earlier, drove solo like an old-fashioned Dad (straight without stopping) from SF to LA and then, in response to a text message, met a friend at an improv club in Hollywood on the way home.

Tonight I received an email from my doctor with the results of the chest x-ray that I had yesterday at the City of Hope. I have infiltrates in my lungs, which means I have something that looks like pneumonia. At least we'll be treating it like pneumonia. Here we go again. (By the way, I'm one of the luckiest patients. My doctor emailed me with the results of my x-ray and then called my pharmacy with the prescription for antibiotics after 8 pm.)

I'm always just a little relieved to find out that there's something amiss and that I'm not just becoming a lazy, out-of-shape wimp.

Time to contract again. Just a little.

(Recommended blog: Running for my Life: Fighting Cancer One Step at a Time. Runner and writer Ronni's life has taken more twists and turns, ups and downs than the Dow Jones, but she always comes back, one step at a time. She is currently recovering from her THIRD donor stem cell transplant. I love her observations, insights, humor and spirit. When she describes getting platelets or going through a pulmonary function test, you're right in the chamber with her.)

22 comments:

susiegb said...

hey Susan
Sorry about this (guess it wasn't something the Fisherman's Friends could have helped with!) - but I'm totally with you about knowing there is something real wrong. That means that you and the doctors can work on fixing it!

Hope the antibiotics kick it really quickly! :)

Susan C said...

I did pick up a package of Fisherman's Friends, and I love them. They do help a tad, but I sometimes have to carefully move the lozenge to the side of my mouth to keep from choking.

I hope the antibiotics work too (but I'm a little skeptical if it's those EOS)

altadenahiker said...

"...drove solo like an old-fashioned Dad," what a picture that paints!

Do you know what made it go away the last time? Lots of rest and food?

Sue G said...

Phew! I've been in Chicago for a week having tests and scans and I return to find you have coughed your way from San Francisco to LA, have been diagnosed with pneumonia, and feel like a flattened accordion with the air sucked out of its little polka producing body. I have complete confidence that the meds will kick in to provide some relief as well as a return to the social extrvaganza that is your life.

I'm sorry about the cough because I can certainly relate. But, it could be worse. You could be leaving a trail all the way to the Depends department at Wal-Mart!

Hoping for a quick return to life in the fast lane.

STRIPEDCATFISH said...

Your gonna be okay.
And you will be as fresh as new after this.
Staying at home is way better than out. pollution and everything.

Gardening at home and try cooking something nice will be a very good idea. I've found alot of pleasant site that show how to made a cute craft when you're at your free time. It's a very nice give to give to anyone who appear to have a birthday around that time!

Ann said...

Is the game plan to continue taking steroids and antibiotics and wait? I hate that you feel like a social pariah because of the cough. Chin up, you'll be back to blazing through life in no time.

Margaret said...

Well, that's no good. Let's hope the meds kick in really fast. If you are up for visitors, maybe we can arrange a movie night for you. We'll bring food. You choose the movie. When you're ready...

Susan C said...

Sue, You make my life sound so exciting. I hope the tests and scans went well in Chicago and that you, at least, got to eat some fabulous Chi-town food.

Catfish, Thanks for the encouragement. I really don't mind staying in when I'm not feeling 100%. My paperwork alone could keep me occupied for a fortnight.

Ann, Yea, that's the game plan. I wanted to do a bronch (to see if the infiltrates are EOS), but my doc doesn't think it's necessary. I hope the antibiotics work.

Margaret, You're a sweetheart.

Trish said...

well sweetie, at least you have an answer and a new plan beyond "wait and see and cough some more".

Do the meds, REST, drink plenty of fluids, REST and spend some time taking care of you & in some of that spare time, maybe play out in the garden now that the weather is sliding into spring/summer.

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kim said...

Wow, great blog, keep up the good work

Kairol Rosenthal said...

Doesn't it suck when we are sometimes glad for bad news that verifies why we are feeling like crap? Give into the exhaustion and rest up!

Hope you feel better fast.

Kairol
http://everythingchangesbook.com/

Proverbial Mom said...

Hi! I just randomly came across your blog. I just ran the OKC Half Marathom with Team in Training for the LLS. I also manage a blog for some friends of mine who have battled both Leukemia & Lymphoma. www.hope4thehoskins.com

I hope all goes well for you and I'll keep you in my prayers. Cancer SUCKS!

Susan C said...

Trish, Attempting to do a little "light" gardening every day, but it leaves me heavy breathing.

Thanks for visiting, Kim.

Kairol, I've been a first class couch potato this week. Goin' with the flow.
Kind of makes up for those four Prednisone-charged weeks when I was an Eveready Bunny. (Still on steroids, but no more high, now that I'm "sick.")

Proverbial Mom, That's SO cool that you ran a half marathon. And very cool that you help with the blog. I'll check it out.

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Nancy said...

In a way, having some diagnosis and subsequent treatment is better than the "wait and see."

You'll be back on your feet in no time. In the meantime, take it easy and recover completely! love, n

janet said...

Susan - Does the doctor at Stanford know about this? How soon will you know if it's not pneumonia? Will you have the test for EOS then?

Kirti said...

Blessings to you! I have had dear family members suffer through this ordeal...you are doing a great service to help inspire people going through this as well...

Susan C said...

Nancy, A diagnosis is definitely better than "wait and see," but I'm not convinced this is actually pneumonia. (I think it's tied in with the EOS and I want to do a bronchoscopy.) My doctor and I disagree.

Janet, I haven't informed the Stanford doctor of the latest turn in events. Because I'm on Prednisone now, there are no EOS in my blood, but that doesn't mean that they haven't infiltrated to other parts of my body. That's what I think has happened, not pneumonia. I will have to taper off Pred., wait for the EOS to rise again (which means I will become sick again) before I can do a bronchoscopy that will be meaningful. Right now, the steroids are masking a lot.

Thank you, Kirti, for reading and for your encouragement.

Marcy said...

Aw I hope you're feeling better. My daughter and I both had nasty colds, we're on the mend now though. I'll be sure to say "extra" prayers for you. Speaking of the Prednisone, my sister has been on it many times for the treatment of Crohn's disease. It helped her alot. She's been in what we term "remission" from Crohn's disease for quite some time now, and hopefully will stay that way. In any case, feel better you, I'm off to bed. "G' night" and Bless you." xo~

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