A variety of songs have spoken to me along this journey with cancer – everything from hymns to Bob Marley. Since seeing my oncologist on Tuesday, “Piece of my Heart” by Janis Joplin has taken up residence in my brain. I’ll explain.
My CT scan showed an increasing amount of fluid around my heart. The excess fluid prevents my heart from fully expanding, which means I’m not getting enough oxygen. It also means my heart is working much harder to keep up with what my body needs to survive. My resting heart rate is typically around 115-120. My blood oxygen levels drop to the low 80s when I’m up moving around. Combine that with pneumonia and everything else going on with my lungs and it’s a miracle i’m even breathing at all. I’m thankful for my many years of faithful exercise and healthy eating, which no doubt strengthened my heart and body and are making it possible to survive everything that keeps coming my way.
Going back to the song, they technically won’t be taking a piece of my heart. They will be cutting a hole in the sac that surrounds my heart to remove the excess fluid. The surgery sounds major, but it’s actually not that big of a deal. I’ll know more after I see the cardiologist on Wednesday, but my enthusiasm for relief far outweighs any fear. At this point, I’d be willing to let them take a little piece of my head if it would help me breathe better.
Now, a funny story about how I nearly went out with a bang last week. The doctor was very emphatic about how careful I need to be due to this heart condition. He kept saying, “… which could lead to cardiac arrest and you could die.” Not wanting to have a heart attack, I went home and immediately hooked myself up to oxygen. Later that evening I was shocked to look down and notice that I was wearing my oxygen while grilling some chicken. About the time I made the realization, my oxygen machine in the house started beeping like crazy. I ran in the house and threw the oxygen tubing down like it was a snake. You’ve got to admit, it would have been an ironic ending.
Despite the breathing problems, I actually feel fine. And David and I had the most wonderful weekend with Drew, Sam and Jack. The visit could not have come at a more perfect time – although I suppose any time they visit will be the perfect time.
I’ll post an update when I have more information.
Thanks so much for your care, prayers and support!
The (almost) human firecracker,