My heart is well. I don’t mean in a metaphorical way. I mean it’s fit for purpose, healthy. There was a chance it wouldn’t be when I went for my third echocardiogram today. The appointment was one of the first this morning and my lovely friend Kata came with me, primarily to inject another a added human presence to the experience. So far my interactions with sonographers has been a mixed bag. I’ve had an even split of two bad encounters and two good with this particular flavour of healthcare professional. One ran out of the room to get a nurse when I started crying inconveniently and another barely said two words to me. So there was a good to fair chance today’s person was going to be an issue and I’ve found that having a second warm body in the room can draw out some deeply buried compassion. It boded very well when the technician bounded out with a huge smile on his face, looked me square in the eyes and held out his hand for a reassuring handshake.

Thank goodness he turned out to possess some social skills because it’s an intimate experience that in the hands of an incompetent soul can become awkward and violatey feeling. Keeping me chatting about inanities, he threw into the conversation that it was time to get my kit off. I stripped to the waist and this time was given a gown that brought a tiny feeling of still being dressed and in control. I lay down on the reclined chair/bed and he placed three sensors on my chest area attached by wires to the equipment. Then he lathered some gel on and used an ultrasound (similar to those used to see babies in the womb) and pressed REALLY hard to get images of my heart. If you can picture it, I am on my left side with my arm behind my head like I’m in a buxom cyborg in a Renaissance painting. The technician is pressed up against me with his arm over my chest pushing the ultrasound wand hard underneath my left boob. Did I mention it’s intimate? You can see why it’s so important that the person doing this is making you feel very much at ease. Not just to get good readings (if I’m stressed, my heart will be too) but also out of simple human decency. This is the kind of image he got.

echocardiogramMy heart looks like a pear. I saw it beat on the screen, expanding and lumpy. The technician said the different parts of my heart were beating in unison. That’s good. I took my prize of a good experience with him and a functioning organ and left happy and relieved.

The reason for all this is that the drug I’m taking every three weeks for another year, Herceptin, can be a bit silly. It targets the cancer cells much better than chemo does but it does make mistakes sometimes and can beat the crap out of healthy cells, namely the ones in my heart. So while it’s doing a good job of killing the evil lump, it could also give me congestive heart failure. Hence the regular trips to the cardiography department.

Before we went to the appointment I had a moment. I was brushing my teeth and as I leaned over the sink to spit and the thought of surgery next week flitted across my mind. In the seconds it took to raise my head and look into the mirror, a surge of excitement passed through me. Much like Buffy in episode Weight of the World when she’s catatonic and Willow goes into her mind to bring her out. She is stuck because there’s this tiny moment where she thinks if Dawn dies, then she’d be relieved. She feels horribly guilty for it. This moment.

buffy moment


Anyway it was just like that moment but without the sister dying bit and you know, completely the opposite feelings. But just the same otherwise. I felt a fleeting thrill. It was the first time I had felt anything other than going through the motions practicality or sheer terror about the upcoming operation. I’d like to say I have more words to describe or talk about it. But it was just a simple, all encompassing wave of total anticipation. And it felt good. So I guess my heart is well. Metaphorically speaking too.

5 thoughts on “Pumped

  1. Joba

    Beautiful blog love. Was always going to win my appreciation with a good healthy dose of the Buff…but really beautiful. I love hearing your journey and being with you on this through your blogs. Thank you for letting us share this with you and explaining it all so wonderfully. Yay for your heart…being all well and being so big…all the time. It’s a very special one that one.xxxxxx

    ps. I’m going to watch that episode now

    pps. did mention you’re great?

    ppps. did i mention i love you?!

  2. Heidi

    Urgh I wrote a reply to this last night and it didn’t take! Anyway thanks for an equally lovely comment. It’s so awesome to have this tool to share and connect. And always fab to inspire buffy watchage 😉 love you too. Xxxx

  3. Mike

    I can’t believe what your heart looks like on the screen. It looks like a Mr Potato Head, ready to be decorated with mouth, eyes and funny ears!

    But very glad to hear it is well. Your amazing heart also shines through on this blog! Much love!

    You may not have thought it, but Isy made me watch the entire 7 seasons of Buffy when we first met and I have a very soft spot for it. Remember that episode well..

    1. Heidi

      Ha ha Yes Mr. Potato head it is! Let’s hope important bits don’t start popping off 😉

      I can’t wait to meet Isy. I like her more and more I hear about her. Xxx

  4. Kat

    Hi love
    So good to hear that you had a moment of anticipation about the surgery, and not just abject terror. Thinking of you very much in these days leading up to the surgery, and hope to be with you very soon. The next time we see each other you will be LUMP FREE! Amazing thought.

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