When There is a Wheeze There is a Way

Except I don’t have a wheeze. I have a cough.

I had my follow up appointment with the lung dude (that is what I have started to call the pulmonologist the “lung dude”). I had a quick chest Xray before my appointment. The waiting room for most scans, of all kinds, happens to be next to the breast cancer clinic and my favorite surgical oncology nurse walked by and gave me a funny look (in a good way, because she cares). She asked me what I was doing in that area. I explained that we were making sure my lung wasn’t deflating more than it already had, nothing too exciting (really, because I am not stressed about that one, just need to not have high impact chest injuries right now).

When it was appointment time, the “lung dude” came in, I explained that my energy was through the roof (I am talking bouncing off walls here, BOUNCING). I have been spending a lot of quality time with friends (which makes me super happy because I spent a few weekends in bed – seriously brings tears to my eyes how much awesome time I have spent with awesome people since we have been able to get my energy up and me feeling better). I am not falling asleep on the couch the minute I get home from work (which was seriously freaking my husband out, I haven’t done that since radiation). I have actually been cooking dinner on a very regular basis again (cooking is also how I unwind, so when I can’t cook for a few weeks, it is usually a bad sign on my energy level). I have been a busy little bee! I have been coughing every few days vs. every few hours.

This gave the verdict that the Advair worked. His official term was “obstructive lung disease-ish,” ok maybe less official, but I couldn’t remember the words he used. When I tried to remember after the appointment. My mom insisted he meant something along the lines of asthma (the coughing kind will pass the asthma test that I passed, and sadly the air in Utah is bad bad bad, even if the mountains are pretty). The coughing kind of asthma will pass a normal kind of asthma test (confusing I know) and they don’t really know the cause of this one either (although allergy or an illness can come into play).

No more experimenting. Mandi is fixed. YAY. Well, sort of… I will continue taking Advair for a few months and then we will try to take me off because he doesn’t want me on it permanently if I don’t have to be on it (cross your fingers kids).

When they looked at my lung Xray they said “wow, your lungs look amazing, I wish all of our patients lungs looked like this,” which kind of makes you proud for 5 seconds, until your realize you are hanging out in the lung cancer clinic and then it kind of takes your breath away (literally and figuratively).

I painted this while after my lung CT. My husband feels like it was indicative of my mood.

I painted this while after my lung CT. My husband feels like it was indicative of my mood.

They don’t have us breast cancer people wander on down and back and forth (it is all about “clinics” people… which feels a little separated (especially in the middle of October where I am constantly biting my tongue because I love people and people mean the best). Usually, you have people who specialize in your area if you have a common cancer such as breast cancer. I had been sent to the pulmonologists at Huntsman because they are good doctors and they could squeeze me in quickly (unlike most specialists) and it is nice to have someone close by check it things out that can walk upstairs and chat with my oncologist.

This brought me to my next point with “lung dude.” I asked if I should simplify, simplify, simplify. Should I have my general practitioner deal with the Advair and have my Oncologist deal with the nodules. This is when he explained trying to take me off Advair (which is a good thing, because I didn’t explain to him that I regularly attempt weening myself off of major medications – except Tamoxifen – to try to cut down on all of the crap I take these days – which isn’t always a good thing to do on your own, but I am a rebel – I never just take meds long term).

I discussed that my oncology NP had suggested that we would do a 3 month CT vs. his recommended 6 month and if I should check in/run the whole thing though “team pink.” He sounded like he really wanted to hang out with me over the next couple of years while we do all of the fun CTs to verify no nodular growth in my lungs a.k.a. no metastatic breast cancer (not that we think I have it, but “with my history, we have to rule it out”). He decided that the 3 month mark made sense and switched my 6 month CT to 3 months, and now we do “the big-you-are-fine checkup” on January 15th.

I like him. So, welcome to the ride Dr. Boltrax

Author: Mandi

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  • Nancy Stordahl

    Glad you have a couple months to catch your breath before your next CT appointment. Gosh, that’s a really bad joke isn’t it? Sorry. But I am glad to hear you’re feeling better! That’s terrific. Thanks for the update.

  • Jan

    You are delightful, Mandi. In one of your blogs you mentioned trying to deal with some of this “stuff” with humor. I concur. This does not downplay the seriousness, but when we’re able to lighten up a little it sure helps release part of our stress. (Acid reflux can also cause coughing…in case that’s of interest.) Here’s to ongoing positive progress.

  • pinkunderbelly

    So glad the lung dude had good news for you. Hooray for good news!