Well...here's something new.
As I mentioned previously, I had to see someone about my heart as a result of some effects from my herceptin treatment. Well, at the cardiologist today I learned that I have a congenital heart defect - an aortic bicuspid valve. I went in because the ejection fraction of my heart was lowering and found out about this instead, which had not been noted before because I've not seen a cardiologist before. What it means is, basically, instead of having 3 flappy bits in the valve that fit together like a mercedes symbol in a normal valve, for that valve I have just two, that meet in the middle. This is what my mum and my grandma had that eventually led to congestive heart failure. Right now it is nothing to be concerned about, but in combination with the lowering ejection fraction that herceptin was causing it may mean that I'm done with my herceptin treatments (sigh) so that we don't damage my heart inadvertently by making it pump harder and enlarging one side of my heart. I'm finished 3/4 of my herceptin so if I don't get them all it's not so bad. I'm actually glad they didn't find this until now and I got all the herceptin treatments that I did. Unless my ejection fraction goes back to normal in time I may be done herceptin. I have another echo cardiogram in a few weeks to see if I'm improving...I'll have to wait and see. This throws a whole extra stick in the wheel but I'd rather have a good heart for the rest of my time here. (And it's gonna be a long time!)
Frankly, I'm shocked, mostly because after my mum got quite sick I had an echo cardiogram done to check if I had inherited this condition and at that time they told me I was normal. My (now) cardiologist (who I love...he's a happy friendly greek man with kind eyes who answered all my questions and explained everything very well to J and I) went back to look at the old test results and he said that yes, the test showed abnormalities, but only ones a cardiologist might be able to see and not necessarily ones to be picked up by a regular GP. All these years I was thinking I'd dodged a bullet there and not inherited heart issues...but apparently I did win the valve lottery after all.
What does it mean? Well for now, I'm just fine health-wise. I can exercise and do what I wish, but will have to take ACE inhibitors and possibly beta blockers in the future to help my heart stay strong for the rest of my life. When my heart valve ages and stops working normally and it starts to effect my heart and health, likely somewhere in my late 50s or 60s, I will have to have the valve replaced with surgery. My mum should have had this done but her doctor recommended against it because of her age and frailty. For me - we'll be keeping an eye on it every year and since I'm a healthy person now I know that when the time comes (gulp) I'll get the help I need. A bit freaky, but after everything I've been through this seems not so bad. The devil you know and all that...
So...how was your thursday? Hopefully a lot better than mine. Ah, don't take me too seriously -mine got better too. Before I went back to work J took me to the local specialty bra shop because they were having a sale today and I picked up 2 more mastectomy bras and a few tank tops with built in mastectomy bras. I just learned my insurance has an extra health fund I can use to cover more mastectomy bras, so I wanted to get a few more to have more options for what I can wear. It was fun after all that serious doctor stuff - the lady fitting me is from near Cardiff in the UK and is a big Doctor Who fan so we yacked while I tried on many pretty things and left with ones that make me feel quite pretty indeed...so hey - the days' getting better already. :)