Sunday, October 13, 2013

Heart Issues (or, what we didn't tell you in the spring)

Back in March, Anne-Marie was just wrapping up her radiation treatments. The doctors wanted her to start up Herceptin treatments again (I've already explained Herceptin a bunch of times here; it's chemo for all who don't need the subtle details of why it's not.)

After about two months of Herceptin treatments, Anne-Marie was scheduled for a MUGA scan, which is a really thorough ultrasound of the heart tissue. It's standard procedure. The results were not at all what we were expecting. The Herceptin treatments had caused congestion in her heart to a concerning level, causing Dr. Korde to immediately order a stop to treatments.

The plan was to allow a little time to pass and allow the tissue in Anne-Marie's body to recover for a few weeks/months and then start Herceptin again. As Anne-Marie was discussing this with Dr. Korde a few weeks later in July, she mentioned to her that she was having recurring fevers. The doctor agreed that it was a concern and worth monitoring. 

If you've followed the blog you'll know that a few days later, in late July, Anne-Marie was admitted to the hospital due to the fever-causing infection. Emergency surgery followed a few days later. 

Now we're back to where we were in July. They wanted Anne-Marie to begin treatments again, so they scheduled another heart scan two weeks ago. Her heart hasn't quite recovered. There's been measurable improvement, but not enough to risk more treatments. 

We thought this was just a bump in the road and not worthy of mention. We just didn't want to worry people with a "heart problems" discussion.  After four months without resolution, it seemed right to tell the story.


So what's next?  During all of the testing and complication, somebody caught a glimpse of some enlarged lymph nodes near the tumor site. It is believed to be the body's reaction to July's infection problem. As a precaution, Anne-Marie will go in this Friday for a more in-depth CT scan on Friday.

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