Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Special Care

When you have been a cancer patient, doctors are generally a lot more cautious with you. If anything comes back with so much of a sniff of being abormal, everything tends to go into panic mode and no stone is left unturned. That’s how it feels sometimes anyway.

I guess this is a good thing, but as I have recently found, it can cause weeks and weeks of unnecessary stress and worry.

I am due to give birth to my second baby boy on 8th April, and because one of the chemo drugs I had is potentially cardiotoxic, they wanted me to have an echo-cardiogram at 16 and 30 weeks during my pregnancy. This is because during pregnancy your heart works even harder than normal, and if the chemo has caused any nasty side effects, they need to know so they can deal with it.

I had my first echo and was told all was fine. I had my second echo, and was told all was fine. Until a week later when I got a phone call telling me that they had found an abnormality, and there was something showing as causing some compression to my right atrium and to see what it was in more detail, I had to have an MRI scan done.

All of a sudden, I am having more appointments booked for me. The MRI, blood tests, ultrasounds. And then I begin to panic. And I ask THE question: “Are you doing all of this because you think the cancer is back?” And they can’t answer me, because they don’t know, but yes, there is a chance it’s back—especially given that whatever it is that is compressing the atrium is in the same spot my cancer was. The fact my bloods were fine and that I was having no symptoms, didn’t do much to alleviate my fear.

My haematologist told me that my obstetrician wasn’t willing to deliver the baby before 34 weeks. I had no idea that they were even talking about delivering early. I was told that if it was the Hodgkin’s again, that I would have to have inpatient chemo and have a stem cell transplant and be in hospital for a month. Cue panic. My baby will be in special care, and I will be in the cancer ward. Someone else will be looking after and bonding with my newborn and when I come out of hospital, he won’t know who I am and I won’t be able to comfort him.

Eventually, I had my MRI scan. It took a few weeks for them to get me an appointment. It wasn’t a nice experience and I was glad when it was over. I expected to wait a week for my results.

Later that night, I got a phone call. The scan came back all clear. Suffice to say, I cried with relief. And then I felt stupid. Stupid for getting so worked up and upset over what turned out to be nothing (and I have since found out that the compression has been caused by my diaphragm sitting higher on the right hand side).

But mostly relief. And while I am glad they are taking extra special care of me, I do wish that they didn’t have to!

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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