The Stacey Report

December 13, 2006: “These go to 11.”

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on December 13, 2006

So, let’s start with the dermatologist, who was thoroughly unimpressed with Stacey’s back: “Well, I don’t see anything…” She did remove a few moles just ’cause why not, and those went to the lab because everything goes to the lab. The moles weren’t in the same spot as the “light-up” from the CT/PET scan, so not only are they not the problem that the scan thought it saw, but the scan didn’t see a problem where these were. So there. (I say that a lot, I realize now. I suppose that shouldn’t be a big surprise. So THERE, cancer! HA! and ha Ha HA!!)

OK, now the cardiac echo, where there is the very excellent news that Stacey’s heart function is back up to 55%, which means that she can go back on the Herceptin.  Woo hoo! The Herceptin, as I’m sure you all remember (because what could be more diverting than memorizing the names and actions of oncology meds) is the fake-out hormone that will rush into the receptor sites of any remaining cancer cells with every sign of acting like real hormones (“Ready? OK! Lets see some spirit, lonely little cells, we’re gonna go take over some major organs!”) but then act like, well, really real hormones (“Ohhhh flop!… I am so tired.  I really want some pretzels. click click click Ooh, look, PBS is showing a Blackadder the Third/Bertie and Wooster/House marathon!! I’m not moving from this couch for the next six years.”) 

This is exceptionally good news because this is the treatment that not everyone responds to, but Stacey does, and it could concievably keep the little cancer-cell buggers (should there be any left) confused indefinitely.

OK, fine, but here’s the thing.  Stacey’s heart function right now is 55%.  The concern last time was that it had gone down to 45%.  I was in error when I said that the chemo had caused it to go down to 65% initially — Stacey told me that it was 65% to start with, and went down to 55% when the Herceptin was doubled, 45% when it was tripled.

So if you’re like me (and if you are like me, no, I have no suggestions for you. Why do you think I’m still like me?) you’re thinking “Oh good gravy, my sister’s heart is barely functioning, it was only at 65% when she started waaah waaaaah blabawablabawaba!!” Right? Uhm… right?  Well, whatever, it sounds upsetting.

Except get this: guess whose heart function is at 100%?  Go ahead, who has a heart that is in top shape, functioning as it should be?  NOBODY.  Nobody has 100% heart function.  And they knew that when they set up this measurement system in the first place — is that not the dumbest thing ever?  It’s like the speaker scene in Spinal Tap, but in reverse: instead of picking somebody like Lance Armstrong or some insane cave diver and measuring that heart function at 100%, they set everything at some arbitrary number: “Yooouuu?  Let me see.  You look like… a 57.3%  That’s a good number for you. Brings out your eyes.”

I’ll tell you, if they want a nominee for the 100% heart function, my girl is Lyubov Denisova (Rus.) Who just set a crrraaaazy new record for the Honolulu marathon.  Check this out: chick ran 26 point something miles, right?  26 miles.  In?  TWO HOURS and 27 minutes!  (and 19 seconds)  Holy holy holy Lord God Almighty, and I mean that in the most respectful sense because how does this machine called the human body DO such a thing? Yeah, so some guy from Kenya did it a little faster, so what, Kenyan runners do that every day plus a Wednesday matinee. Just LOOK at this babe:

(And of course I also mean “babe” in the most respectful sense.)  Dang-a-lang, it takes me two and a half hours to clean my kitchen!  And I schmertainly don’t look like that doing it! On the other hand, do I really want to live the kind of life that would allow me to wake up one day and run 26 miles in two and a half hours?  Really?  I mean, I have no time to read as it is. And I bet there is no place for Fluffernutters in a life like that. 

Now LEST someone in the know decide that I am a complete dunce or, worse, completely without Googling skills, I will elaborate on the actual factual facts of heart function, to wit:

The percentage measurement is not the percentage of potential efficiency at which your heart is operating, but the percentage of blood your heart pushes out each time it pumps.  It can’t push 100% of the blood out because that would mean that the entire muscle would have to clamp down on itself like a canning lid, and that would be impossible  (not to mention extremely uncomfortable).  So, in that scenario, one can imagine that pumping out 65% of the blood is actually pretty darn good, which is what everyone told her at the time, which is what I (and thou) would have known if I had just listened to Stacey for once in my life! Or so she says.

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