Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Good News, Bad News

Hamish and I are fans of the American medical television series House. We got into it a couple of seasons ago and watch each episode as it becomes available. It seems like nearly every episode one of the doctors suggests that a patient has the condition sarcoidosis, but I don't think anyone has ever been found to have it.

Now I'm fairly experienced in dealing with the health system, and I'm also pretty used to using the Internet to find information on health issues. When I was diagnosed with Addison's Disease I got Hamish to print some stuff off for me so that I could ask my Endocrinologist more relevant questions. I also know that there are pitfalls in relying on television and the Internet for that information.

All the same, when Mum was told that she needed a lung biopsy I did a Google search to see what was involved, and one of the things I noticed was that the biopsy is used to diagnose sarcoidosis. At that point, purely out of curiosity, I decided to read a bit more to find out what sarcoidosis actually was. Which was the point at which I started to wonder whether Mum had cancer at all.

It turns out that sarcoidosis is the result of a faulty immune reaction. It can cause lung lesions, shortness of breath, weight loss, pain and fatigue, sinusitis and red eye, all of which Mum has been suffering from. It is also associated with an underactive thyroid and B12 deficiencies, both of which Mum has, and occurs in people who have had a lot of exposure to agricultural chemicals. Mum spent most of my childhood working in a market garden where sprays were used regularly and our house was bordered by grape vines which were also sprayed.

I didn't want to get Mum's hopes up, but it all seemed to fit. Now it seems that the respiratory specialist she saw today is thinking the same thing. Which is great, because it's mostly treatable. Now we're just waiting for that biopsy. Fingers crossed! Even if it is lung cancer the lesions are apparently very small and almost undetectable.

In other good news, I met with PT Dave Creamer yesterday. We've agreed on my priority events, starting hopefully with a 10km race in Belmont the weekend after Taupo. After that I'll train towards the Yarrows Taranaki Cycle Challenge on 24 January (the day before Dad's birthday). I'll follow that up with a return to Marlborough for the Grape Ride in April. Dave thinks the Rotorua Marathon is achievable in May 2009, and possibly also the Harbour Capital half marathon in June. After that there'll be some lead-up triathlons and possibly the odd local cycle race or fun run, the Taupo Round the Lake cycle challenge again in November (if I'm still feeling good), then the big one, the Rotorua Half Ironman.

Phew - I think that was it! Dave's going to put together a programme for me, including weights sessions as appropriate and the odd RPM or Balance class. He's also recommending I do the Masters swim sessions at Huia or Barbara's Oriental Bay swims over summer. Hmmm. Might need to have a few lessons with Lesleigh first!

I left my meeting with Dave feeling super super excited and had a great final RPM class with Adam and Dee team teaching and the Shifters wearing hats or helmets. It was stinking hot in that room and the helmet definitely didn't help! I felt a wee bit off and was wondering about that cough I've had all eek. It was a great class though all the same, and afterwards Adam handed around fruit cake and a few of us headed off for coffee.

Which is where the luck ran out and the only bad news of the week kicked in. That cough? Ahhh, yep. I woke up this morning with a full-blown cold. Bah.

Thankfully it's not as bad as it could be. My ears aren't blocked up so I can still actually hear and although my sinuses are sore I can still breathe, even if my nose is running like a mad thing. Ironically the cough has stopped! At this stage I'm still planning on heading up to Taupo but I'm not kidding myself that getting around is going to be easy. I'm going to have to take it really easy and I've decided to take planned rest stops to refill water bottles and take extra medication. I took off from work at mid-day and had a bit of a nana nap on the sofa this afternoon. If I nurse myself I might just make it to the start line.



Kate said...

Great diagnosis, Dr Pip :) Hopefully the biopsy comes back all clear.

Hope the cold gets better soon - take care! :)

Sass said...

Oh I'm so glad that things are looking more positive! I've got my fingers crossed for the biopsy

And speaking of Dave, apparently he told Dionne that he thought the Korokoro half is a difficult one and now I'm all paranoid that it'll be too much for me wahhhhhhh...

Pip said...

You silly chook. It IS a difficult one! Even the course description says that! But with your super hard run last night you'll be fine. Just remember - even Duck planned to walk the difficult bit.