My Beating Heart


Tuesday evening I took London and Quinn to the elementary school for kindergarten registration. The following afternoon we had their first preschool parent-teacher conference. 

My Mama heart is filled to the brim. They're growing up before my eyes. 

Two years ago I didn't even know if I'd be here to see this. 

After conferences, we took the kids to frozen yogurt to celebrate their accomplishments and enjoy some time as a family before I drove with the kids to Spokane for another round of treatment.

From the Pink Door to Grammy and Papa's house takes two hours. The kids are at an age where they can entertain themselves for the length of the drive. Past are the days of breastfeeding Eli in a gas station parking lot in Cheney. 

Wednesday I made a rare stop at Starbucks just before reaching Spokane. It was approaching 4:30 in the afternoon, and while "rush hour traffic" is relative (I'm looking at you, Seattle), it was going to take us longer than usual to cross town. 

We were in that Starbucks parking lot when my phone rang. The wind was blowing straight through the car. I was buckling kids. Passing out hot cocoas. 

The screen read Cancer Care Northwest. It's rare for them to call less than 24 hours before treatment. Something was amis. 

It was one of my favorite chemo nurses. "I was reviewing your last echocardiogram...I've just had a long chat with your doctor...decreased heart function...ejection fraction...below normal...postpone treatment...cardiologist..." The conversation was like those computer games where things scroll across the screen and you grab at them as fast as you can, obviously missing some, just hoping for fast enough reflexes to beat the last High Score. I pieced together what I could hold on to. 

I set down my phone. Buckled Eli. Maintained course. 

Sucked down my iced coffee and tried to listen for the sound of my disfunctional heart.

Wump wump. Wump wump.  

Things that seemed important an hour ago no longer mattered...Which roads will have (the most) construction? Did I pack Eli's favorite t-shirt? Is giving them cocoa at 4:30 really a good idea? 

This has always been a possibility. 

Herceptin has the potential to destroy my heart. A rare--but serious--side effect.

That's why I have an echocardiogram every three months. 

Echoes that have been good. Until now. 

This weekend I'm left with a thousand questions and exactly zero answers. Monday morning I see a cardiologist. 

I'm told I can resume herceptin and perjeta treatments when the cardiologist clears me. What will be required? Medicine? Better diet and exercise? Will my heart regain function, or is the goal simply stopping further damage?

A thousand questions. 

Wump wump. 

For now, I'm holding onto sweet memories from earlier in the week. Registration. FroYo. 

And this backyard picnic at sunset. 

I'm not sure what the cardiologist will see when she looks at my heart Tuesday. But I do know it will be full. 

Wump wump. Wump wump. Wump wump. 


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