Apparently February is heart month which is sort of perfect because this blog post is dedicated to the lesion in my heart. I never named him and I'm regretting that now, but oh well. Yes, I realize that I don’t have the same ‘heart disease’ that American Heart Month is all about, but I do have a different kind of heart disease, so it’ll work. 😉
I finally met with a Cardio Oncologist on Friday morning. I’ve been complaining about increased heart rates for months but it took FOREVER to get on his schedule. See, I have this fancy Apple Watch that tells me what my heart rate is. I sleep with it at night so I can analyze my sleep patterns (I’m a weirdo, it’s cool). Well, ever since I started treatment (and really since I got home from the hospital) I’ve noticed that my sleeping heart rate is significantly higher than what it used to be. I used to range anywhere from 60-65 beats per minute (bpm) for any given night and now I barely crack below 80. Some nights, I creep up into the 90s! When I was taking the anti-fungal (stupid Voriconazole and Fluconazole) I’d get racing heartbeats out of nowhere. I’d be lying in bed trying to fall asleep and all of a sudden my heart rate would be 110+ bpm. I stopped taking those dumb “-azole” drugs before Christmas and the rapid heart rates have gone away, but my resting just seems so darn high. So, I had an EKG and wore a heart monitor for 24 hours back in December to make sure everything was okay.
Back to my Friday appointment – I met with the doctor and reviewed the EKG and Holter monitor test results. He explained to me that a normal person’s resting heart rate can range from 60-100 bpm. Turns out, having Cancer gives you some sort of anxiety that causes a “normal physiological response” (go figure). And these increased heart rates I was feeling had nothing to do with the lesion in my heart.
I also learned that there is a very low chance of my immune system attacking my heart because of my immunotherapy treatment. (Similar to how it attacked my joints and caused me to wake up one day in an 80-year old’s body.) There’s only about a 1-2% chance my immune system will attack my heart, but it’s still a chance. So, now I have a couple more blood tests added to my already long laundry list of blood tests before each infusion (I swear, it feels like I donate every time I’m there) to monitor it and make sure everything is stable. When we asked the heart Doc how concerned he was about the tumor in my heart, he said he wasn’t any more or less concerned about it than the ones in my lungs. WHICH WAS GREAT NEWS. Well, about as great of news as you could get for having cancer in your heart (everything is relative 😉)
JUST KIDDING. I HAVE BETTER NEWS.
Following my heart appointment, I had another PET scan. I anxiously awaited a message in my portal all freaking afternoon. My doctor’s PA is awesome and sends me a quick message once she reviews the scans to give me peace of mind. This was extra helpful because I was headed into the weekend and I didn’t want to be an anxious mess. Friday evening, I got a message from her with the results of my PET. And I quote…
“The previously identified right atrial hypermetabolic focus is no longer visible by PET imaging.”
I have a cardiac MRI this evening to get some better images. But I’m hoping that this news means a) the guy in my heart is completely gone-zo and b) I don’t have to keep doing the cardiac MRIs anymore cause they suck a lot.
Check out my scan pics!