Thursday, February 3, 2011


I had an unexpected test today to check how my heart is withstanding the Adriamycin .  Earlier in the week, I was describing the feeling in my chest for the week or so after the chemo treatment and Dr. Rubin just wanted to check that my heart wasn't being compromised.

Adriamycin is the dangerous drug that is administered from 2 vials into my IV on the day of chemotherapy.   The general practice is a body can withstand 350 mg/m of the drug before it causes permanent heart damage.  Based on my treatment plan, I will be below that at 300 mg/m by the time I go in for surgery and any damage that's happened is reversible over time.

Not used to feeling 'chest' pain or anything like that in my otherwise healthy body, it alerts me each time I feel it.  And, in the week after the treatment, it happens quite often.  Dr. Rubin listens to everything and encourages me to talk about anything unusual that is going on and this feels unusual for me. 

I've actually had this test before I started the treatments also to test for my ability to withstand the Adriamycin back then.  I was a different person then - just 2 months ago. 

Usha is the technician who administers both the Nuclear and the MugA tests.  For the MugA, you have to be connected to electrodes after being injected with a radioactive isotope.  The first time, Usha thought there was something wrong with the machine because my heart rate was not registering.  She complained that the machine had just been fixed and still it wasn't working.  She did a good job of trying to troubleshoot it just as I would a computer for a customer.  She would turn it off and on, try again, remove and replace the electrodes, swap out for a different set, unplug and replug them in, etc.  I layed on the machine for nearly 30 minutes while she did all this. Finally she called her boss - a big burly but very nice man.  I don't remember his name, but he did rush in and thank her for pulling him out from a meeting with the CEO!!  I was beginning to feel a little guilty... truthfully I found it quite funny!  Anyway, this man starts to run through all the tests again.  After about 10 minutes, he asks me about my heart rate and blood pressure.  I tell him both are unusually low - heart rate is around 58 bpm and my blood pressure runs around 90/60.  He starts to unbutton his shirt and says to Usha "Hook me up".  Three electrodes later and the machine is registering no problem!  We all start laughing for a bit while he buttons up his shirt, gives Usha a few instructions and heads back to his meeting.  With all that I finally register on the machine and with no surprise, my heart is in fine shape to start the treatments.

This time, Usha starts right away with the new procedure, but I suspect she doesn't need to.  I can tell my body and my heart are different than they were just 2 months ago.  As soon as the electrodes go on, I register and my heart rate is 74.  Normal for most, but high for me. I'm a little disappointed.   I'm able to take the test and hopefully find out the results tomorrow. 

MugA test 2 is just not as good as story as the first time!

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