By the time we left Richardson, the rest of my testing schedule for the day was down the poop chute. We ran around like headless chickens trying to get it all done. Fortunately, everyone was accommodating and fit us in as best they could.
|Tubes of my blood|
Next up was the echocardiogram. A primary objective is to measure the "ejection fraction", which is the percentage of blood that is pumped out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat. A normal ejection fraction is 55 to 70 percent. I had this done in July, and the ejection fraction then was a respectable 60%. The technician wasn't allowed to tell me the exact number today, but she said it was definitely better than it was in July! That's cool. Maybe after all the blood they just had relieved me of, what was left was easier for my heart to pump.
Then came the pulmonary function test. I've never had this done before, but I came through that with flying colors as well. My lung function was above 100% of the expected values for my age. This day was really going pretty well.
Next we rushed over to radiology to get my bone scan X-rays. By the time that was done, we were running late for the ever-popular bone marrow biopsy, scheduled for 4:00. Needless to say, this was my least favorite part of the day. Last time I had this done at DFCI, Gretchen was in the room watching the procedure. She wisely decided to forgo that pleasure this time. While we were waiting, we talked with another patient who had just had it done. He said his bones were so hard that they couldn't punch through last week, so he came back today to finish the procedure. They had to use a drill to get through, and he said they had to stop every 5 seconds or so to let everything cool down before continuing. Hmmm. Just the kind of story I wanted to hear before undergoing the procedure myself. I have been a bit gun shy about this ever since my first bone marrow biopsy done at Lahey Clinic last year, which was really quite painful. I have to admit though that today it really wasn't too bad. The technician, Fara, really knew what she was doing, and while it was somewhat uncomfortable, it wasn't very painful. Maybe I'm just getting used to being continually poked, prodded, and stuck, so that none of this really bothers me much anymore.
The results of all these tests will be trickling in over the next week or so. In the meantime, I am heading off to Ocean Isle Beach, NC on Saturday for a week of golfing, camaraderie, and fine dining (but, alas, not drinking!) with my brother, Terry, son, Jeff, good buddy, Bobby, and assorted other characters from Pennslvania. I intend to enjoy myself completely...my Last Hurrah before the transplant process. I hope to update my blog while I'm gone, but don't all hold your breaths. I have my priorities straight here.