Friday, 1 March 2013

Heart update

Following on from my last post and the discovery that I have heart problems I've now had an ECG, an echocardiogram and seen a cardiologist. The cardiologist is happy for me to go ahead with my next cycle of chemotherapy which is scheduled for the 7th March. This is very positive news and was the most immediate issue we needed to clarify.
In terms of what is wrong with my heart the situation is still quite uncertain. The cardiologist said that analysing my echocardiogram results is complicated because of the pre-existing VSD ('hole in the heart') condition that I have (I was born with this, it was partially fixed by surgery when I was around four years old but the hole was not completely closed). He wants to get some of his colleagues who specialise in patients with this type of condition to look at the scan as they will be better placed to interpret the results.
Despite the complications he was able to tell that there are some problems with the valves on the right side of my heart, both of these are leaking slightly. He said that this can contribute to fluid retention in the abdomen and legs, something I've been suffering from increasingly of late. I will see the cardiologist in six weeks for a follow up but he will also write to me once he has the opinion of his colleagues.
I've continued to have problems with the skin on my arm which has developed an allergic reaction to the PICC line dressing. This has been sufficiently irritating for me to have to go to the hospital twice in the last week or so. I've now got some steroid cream that seems to be helping but that I can only apply to those parts of the skin that are not covered by various parts of the dressing. The skin that is not reachable continues to be irritated although taking antihistamines has helped a little. I have a feeling I'll have to see a dermatologist about this problem as the PICC line needs to stay in whilst I'm having treatment with chemotherapy.
This year has got off to a very slow start in terms of wildlife photography but I did get a few shots the other week at Pensthorpe in Norfolk. Here's a Coal Tit, there not as colourful as Blue or Great Tits but are still quite smart little characters:

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