Thursday, April 27, 2017

And the Doctor Says....ANOTHER Thoracentesis!

You know how when something isn't working quite the way you hoped, you just keep hoping that things will get better? And how that hopes turns into a force that almost has you convinced that things are actually, maybe getting better? Even though they are not.

Well, that is how my mind and body works, whenever I have a pesky little side effect that  rears its' ugly head. My greatest nemisis, since starting my journey with CML, is pleural effusion. This is not to say that my life saving medication, Sprycel, does not have other annoyances, too, because it does, but the pleural effusion is, and can be a serious side effect; potentially leading to serious complications. But on the other hand, Sprycel has been quite good at keeping my cancer at bay and my PCR at an optimal number, while allowing me to continue to enjoy my life.

That being said, I had 1.8 liters of fluid drained from my pleural sac seven weeks ago; and today I am still coughing, as a matter of fact, I am back to coughing just as much as I was prior to the thoracentesis, which is not a good sign.

So despite the fact that it has not been very long since my last procedure, I tentatively make an appointment with my local doctor. While I am there, we discuss different possibilities for this lingering cough, but figure we might as well rule in, or out,  the possibility of more accumulated fluid.

So, off to the Imaging Center I go; I am so blessed to live in a place where I can just drive a mile or so down the road, walk in, and have an x-ray taken, all within twenty minutes. Not only is it taken, but the person taking the x-ray always lets me gander at it, which I sincerely appreciate. I HATE waiting for results!

Much to my dismay, with my untrained eye,  I see a pleural sac full of fluid, and I know what that means; back to see my "friends" for another thoracentesis. I am pretty disgusted on one hand, and relieved on another. I am glad that there is a "reason" for the ongoing cough, yet I am very concerned about what this might actually mean.

What I am most concerned about is the realistic fact that these continued effusions may force me off of Sprycel and on to another TKI. I am not thrilled about this, and tomorrow, I will tell you why.

For now, I will just tell you that they certainly remembered me from my last thoracentesis! They quickly stated that they will not be taking any more than 1.5 liters out, so as not to cause the coughing attack and pain that occurred the last time, when they removed 1.8 liters, and then they cautiously continued with the procedure.

The same tech came in and "Oh, I remember you! You are the reason that I now use the "snap" lidocaine before I use the needle. " I told him that I remembered telling him that he should and I remembered him trying it on himself! We laughed about that and then we got started. I must tell you, that I really wasn't looking forward to having a needle stuck in my back, between my ribs, but in all honesty, it really is not THAT bad. Yes, it hurts, but only for like maybe three or for seconds. The anticipation is WAY worse than the actual procedure.

I told him that I did not believe that there could be nearly as much fluid as last time, and we both made a guess on how much fluid would be removed; I said 1 liter, he said 1.5 liters. Once we hit 1 liter, I knew I had lost that bet and that I was inching closer to that "danger" zone. The cough started around 1.2 liters, so we slowed the flow, and at 1.3 liters we stopped it and took a short break.

We inched along, with a few short breaks and took 1.5 liters of fluid out of my damn left pleural sac, by stopping at that amount, I thankfully did not have the same complications that I had before, and was able to leave shortly after the procedure. I am still in awe of the amount of fluid build up, in such a short period of time. Let's hope this does the trick!

I am praying that my cough goes away, and that I do not have to return before my month long trip, but at this point, I almost feel that that it is a guarantee. I wonder if this procedure gets better or worse with familiarity?

After getting home, I talked to my oncologist, and we agreed that I should take a Sprycel break, and then try and lower my dosage to get me through my trip, and then see what the pcr numbers tell us.

He also asked me how I felt about Bosulif......Oh, the joys of living with Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia!

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