Tuesday morning I had my checkup with my cardiologist. All seems good on that front. the interrogation of my ICD (pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in my chest and heart) tracks all my heart functions and there was little to no record of issues with my heart, or declining health. That is always such good news. At my last visit, about six weeks ago, there were a few times of heart failure, so this is an improvement.
One issue I learned about during my cardiology checkup is that I need to watch for a premature battery failure of my St. Jude ICD. Implanted defibrillators are powered by lithium-based batteries. Deposits of lithium, known as “lithium clusters,” can form within the battery and create abnormal electrical connections leading to rapid battery failure. St. Jude Medical has reported that in some cases, full battery drainage can occur within a day to a few weeks after the patient receives an ERI alert (a vibratory alert from the ICD). They tested my ICD in the office to show me what the alert would feel like. It is a vibration, that is almost audible. It isn't painful at all. I'm so glad they showed me what it would feel like. Apparently it alerts for a few seconds, then repeats continually until it is replaced. Unfortunately, it will require surgery to replace, but hopefully that will not be anytime soon.
As of a couple of days ago when this news was announced, of the 398,740 affected devices sold worldwide, 841 were returned for analysis due to premature battery depletion caused by lithium clusters.
- 2 deaths (1 in the U.S.), have been associated with devices that could not provide needed shock therapy due to premature battery depletion.
- 10 patients (9 in the U.S.), have reported fainting from devices that could not provide needed pacing therapy due to premature battery depletion.
- 37 patients (30 in the U.S.), have reported dizziness from devices that could not provide needed pacing therapy due to premature battery depletion.
Since I do not have a high likelihood of requiring life-saving shocks and am not pacemaker dependent, at least at this time, both my cardiologist and I are not too concerned. Currently, my ICD battery is expected to last another 5+ years.
So I will return in another six weeks for another checkup. They are keeping a close eye on me because of all the chemotherapy drugs changing frequently, and just all of the side effects from the cancer treatment. And I am so thankful for that.
Week 3 of Xeloda Chemo Pills
Dr. Anderson was thrilled with how breast looks and is feeling that the Xeloda pills are working well. He expects if is working well on the liver too. After this week currently on the Xeloda pills, and if no reaction on my "off" week, then he wants me to up the Xeloda to 3 tabs am and pm. 1,500 mg each, morning and night; which is an increase of 500 mg per day. After my infusion today, I called and scheduled my CT Scan for October 28th. I will make a follow up appointment with breast surgeon, Dr. Elboim for one week following the scan.
Dr. Anderson is thinking that we may be able to stop the infusions soon, if the scan looks good, and give me a break from the weekly visits. This would be nice and would give us the opportunity to get away now and then. But it will all be determined by the results of the scan and at keeping the cancer in check or at bay.
It took a while for my labs to come back, but they checked my tumor markers this time and the CEA (Cardinoembryonic Antigen) is within normal range. It has always been for me, for some reason, so I am glad it is still good. My liver functions continue to be in the normal range. Thank goodness! My RBC (Red Blood Count) is just a bit low, so good for now. So I was able to have my infusion for today.
I went in to this appointment, as in most, feeling very chipper, as seen in this photo of Mark and I in the waiting room.
|In the waiting room.|
So we left the cancer center around 4pm and headed over to Rosso Pizzeria for some well needed, and delicious, nourishment.
Heirloom tomato piadine & basil risotto with prawns - YUM!
I will close for today with this...
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