ECHOCARDIAGRAM AND THE "RED DEATH"

ECHOCARDIAGRAM

In two days time, I am to undergo a third Echocardiogram, since the diagnosis of my Cancer, currently in remission. The first such was to determine that my Heart was in good enough shape to withstand the 8 doses of CHOP Chemotherapy, I was to receive between August 2010 and January 2011. All was fine at that time.

The second "echo" was to check that I was again in good enough shape to withstand the proposed High Dose Chemotherapy and Stem Cell Transplant Treatment, planned to supplement the CHOP and 4 Lumbar Punctures that were completed fully in February 2011. As regular readers will know, the second test showed a problem with the Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction" and that helped me in forming my final " indecision" on whether to opt for that Treatment, or take myself off to Turkey and my self processed recovery plan involving rest, relaxation and my own exercise programme. My Consultant finally determined ,on results of a PET/CT Scan tat I could take the latter course, which has been well catalogued on these Hubs.

ECHO 2 HAD REVEALED THAT MY LVEF {LEFT VENTRICULAR EJECTION FACTOR} HAD DROPPED FROM A GOOD AND NORMAL 55% TO A LESS SECURE 35%.NOW AFTER THE PASSING OF 6 MONTHS A FURTHER ECHOCARDIAGRAM WILL SHOW IF THE FRACTION HAS IMPROVED, WORSENED, OR REMAINED AT 55%.

As all will be aware, the Heart is a pump that sends blood around the body, and collects it when returned to pass to the lungs for oxygenation and further cycle. The heart does this by constantly contracting and relaxing. Relaxing fills the ventricles within the heart with blood and contracting pushes it out round the body. Not all the blood in the body is expelled each time and the percentage ejected each time is the ejection fraction. As the Left Ventricle is the main pumping chamber this is used to measure the efficiency, or otherwise of the function of the heart. A normal percentage is between 55 and 70%. My first reading was 55% but only 35% on the second.

The LVEF can be decreased by any of the following: a} the heart muscle is weakened which can cause dilated cardiomyopathy. b} damage caused by a heart attack c} problems with valves in the heart d} the effect of long term high blood pressure. In my case, as I had received a lot of CHOP Chemotherapy, the cause was a weakening of part of the muscle wall, a feature of the effects of one and even two of the drugs making up the CHOP Treatment. The Echocardiogram measures the ejection fraction by sound waves which produce heart images and the pumping of the blood through the heart. It is a painless process and takes no more than 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

DOXORUBICIN AND REPAIR.

The chief culprit in my case is identified as DOXORUBICIN, one of the4 drugs used in the CHOP programme. It also has a "helper" in the heart damage area in CYCLOPHOSAMIDE, another of the 4 drugs used. The remaining participants in CHOP are STEROIDS and VINCRISTINE. Doxorubicin and also Cyclophoamide apparently can react with body chemicals and thus produce harmful substances called "free radicals" which have the effect of weakening the muscle walls of the heart and thus reducing efficiency in pumping effect.

Duboroxin, the main culprit is termed "The Red Death" due to the colour of the infusion. It is used to treat Hodgkin"s and Non Hodgkin"s Diseases and can cause toxicity in the heart. This can happen in both early or late stage of the process . The late stage is determined as that developing around 12 months after treatment and is classed as the more serious of the two.. As previously explained this causes a weakening of the muscles and reduces pumping efficiency leading to symptoms such as, difficulty in doing more strenuous work etc, tiredness, breathing problems when walking up stairs for example, coughs which worsen at night, swelling of the feet and even difficulty in breathing when at rest. To lessen the possibilities of effect such as those above, Doxorubicin is infused not injected and now a new type, covered in a fatty coating {lyposome} has been developed. The coating only breaks down when at the cancerous point and thus affords more protection for the heart and the rest of the body. In some cases now a drug called DEXRAZOXANE is used following Doxorubicin to mitigate side effects.

My background in Physical Education, encourages me to believe that my 35% is not, as indeed my Consultant has said, a problem. At the same time as the effects of Doxorubicin, can self repair after 12 months or so, I am hopeful that my LVEF will have improved already with the effects of my exercise programme. Certainly. I do not think I could do what I am currently able to do if the effects had worsened. That however is speculation, the facts will be revealed by the "Echo" and I will report as and when they are available to me.

THE RIDE TO BEAT LYMPHOMA

Can I also apologise here and now, to those enquiring of details of THE GREAT CRICKET BIKE RIDE for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Charity in October to be undertaken by my 2 sons, David and Christopher, covering 868 miles in 16 days to visit each County Cricket HQ in the Country, I am pleased to record that I shall be providing full details in a Hub shortly and also can confirm now that they are both in serious training.

DAVID, A BIG LAD AT 6FT 3 INS AND AROUND 16 STONES AND AGED OVER 40, HAS BEEN WORKING HARD TO INCREASE BOTH DISTANCE AND AVERAGE SPEED AND LAST WEEK DID 88 MILES IN 5 HOURS {on one ride} . CHRIS, FITTER AT BASE LEVEL THROUGH HIS OCCUPATION BUT ALSO NOW OVER 40 AND 6FT AND 14 STONES PLUS, RODE TO HIS GAME AT GUILFORD RECENTLY, HIS FIRST TIME ON THE SPECIAL TOUR BIKE AND DID IT IN 2 HOURS 15 MINUTES. HAVING SEEN SOME OF THE EFFECTS OF THE TRAINING, I CAN TELL YOU WITH COMPLETE CONFIDENCE THAT WITH OR WITHOUT DOXORUBICIN IT IS SOMETHING THAT I HAVE NO DOUBT IS {and always was}, WELL BEYOND ME NOT ONLY NOW, BUT IN MY PRIME YEARS AGO!

Details can now also be found @grizzly2209 on Twitter. Also www.beatbloodcancers.org has a section devoted to the ride.Donations, should anyone wish to make them are gratefully received at justgiving.com/bigcricketride.

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Comments 4 comments

mmays 5 years ago

I am also hopeful that all your hard work will pay off. I am looking forward to the result of your echo test. Hopefully all of your physical activities will have burned all the doxorubicin in you. Your boys are off on a good start. Looking forward to meeting David, I believe.


adams-j 5 years ago

Thank you Mays for your kind thoughts. Breaking News! My LVEF has risen in 6 months from 35% to 45% which is well on the way to recovery they say and is a total vindication of the Exercise Regime. S eems like Forest Gump was not as stupid as some may have thought, and maybe Iam not either!


mmays 5 years ago

That is great news! Congrats on your hard work and determination! Run John run!


j w adams 5 years ago from Essex/ Alanya/ Hurghada Author

Mays, You can count on it. I just wish more in our obesity ridden country would do the same!

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