PFT = Not For Me

Once cancer treatment is finished, patients are required to have annual health tests including echocardiograms and pulmonary function tests aka PFTs. PFTs involve the patient sitting enclosed inside a small clear chamber and doing all different types (specifically, force and duration) of blowing with you lips securely around a device to measure lung function. Truth be told, it’s not a comfortable test to take and I always dreaded it. 

Several years ago, my Mom and I ran into a mother of a young son also undergoing cancer treatment; we knew them from the hospital pediatric cancer floor and became what I can only describe as “hospital friends.” In our conversation I mentioned how much I disliked pulmonary function tests, and she nodded her head in agreement and said her son felt exactly the same way.

A sort of unspoken camaraderie develops among patients who’ve been around the block with countless cancer treatments. You often run into each other while at the hospital for appointments. I no longer have to tolerate PFTs because one of my many side effects from cancer treatment, facial paralysis, prevents me from being able to close my lips tightly around the testing device. What a RELIEF!

Besides facial paralysis, other permanent side effects include Avascular Necrosis in my left knee wrist, and right ankle.

Besides facial paralysis, other permanent side effects include Avascular Necrosis in my left knee, wrist, and right ankle.

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