Showing posts with label Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heart. Show all posts

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cardiac Catheterization Update

Dear Diary,

Well, we had an interesting day yesterday.
Spent nearly the entire day in the St Joseph's Hospital cath lab.
We went in at 1 p.m.for what should have been a 20 or 30-minute procedure at 3pm and wound up getting out around 7pm.
Apparently, they had several heart attacks come in on an emergency basis so I was sort of left to last.
When I finally got in, I had the best suite they had available. The whole procedure took about 15 minutes and it was no more traumatic than getting a dental cleaning.

The real good news, however, is that the pulmonary artery pressures are down, significantly from the last procedure in January.
The pressures in January were in the low 70s and they are now in the low 40s which is very good. We still need to get them lower but this shows that the sildenafil is definitely working.

They did some special testing to find out whether the pulmonary vessels were reactive or nonreactive. Apparently, they were at least mildly reactive which gives me the possibility of being able to use different medicines if necessary.
At any rate, the wife and I are both very pleased with the results, so pleased in fact, that we stayed at the hospital and had dinner at the cafeteria.
We almost never go out to eat you see! :-)

The other good news is that the wife's hands are healing perfectly and the numbness in her fingertips is going away much faster than we expected. She is ecstatic!

All this excitement is being posted a few days after the fact due to server issues with blogger. Anyway, the wife and I are now back to sitting out on the front porch in 100% wonderful weather so I really don't give a rat's ass!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Little More Good News

Dear Diary,

Just had another Doppler echocardiogram on the old ticker to re- evaluate the left atrial myxoma.
It's been a year since the last one when it was first discovered.
Good news! It has barely changed at all! This news buys us more time for me to get in shape for cardiac surgery.

Weight is still decreasing (despite my cheat days) and lab values are good.
No apparent side effects from the ADT either.

Not 24/7 O2 dependent either. Maybe sildenafil is working on my lungs but it sure isn't giving me a woodie! LOL!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Officially In The 'Lupron Club'

Dear Diary,

Just got my first dose of Lupron yesterday, in the form of an injection in the butt. The area is a little tender but that should resolve shortly.
As mentioned previously, the goal here is to literally "starve" the cancer of testosterone in hopes that is will retard, or even stop the progression for a certain amount of time (the longer the better)!
The average effective range is 18 to 24 months, sometimes less and sometimes much more.
We will have to be content to wait and see.
There are a host of common yet unpleasant side effects associated with hormone therapy and I will be updating if and when they happen.
One of the more common ones is 'gynecomastia' or enlargement of the male breasts. I guess it's fortunate that I've always enjoyed wearing women's apparel! LOL!

I got another Doppler Echogram done on the old ticker today. We need that to keep track of the progress (or lack thereof) of the myxoma. I will know the results of that in about a week. I really hope it hasn't progressed much because I'm still not ready for surgery.

Things are looking much better with the lungs. I was prescribed sildenafil at my last visit to my pulmonologist but haven't been able to get it filled yet due to an unexpected pre-auth.
Apparently, the stuff is really expensive!
Sildenafil is a potent vasodilator and we hope it will be able to relax and open up my pulmonary arteries resulting in at least a modest reduction in pulmonary arterial pressures.

I think I'm gonna go lie down for a little while 'cause I'm getting fatigued

More dirt later!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Good News For A Change!

Dear Diary,

So, it's been an eventful past couple of days!

On Wednesday, we saw Dr. M, my cardiologist for a routine follow-up. He is pleased with my progress with my weight and the respiratory issue. We are going to schedule another Doppler echocardiogram for this coming week to check on the size of the myxoma. My last one was about a year ago. The new information will help organize our priorities regarding the heart surgery.

Today, (Thursday) I went to St Joe's for a six-minute walk test and pulmonary function testing.
Apparently, I did very well and there is an improvement from the previous testing 4 months ago.
It was also officially confirmed that I have lost 30 pounds! They were impressed.

After the testing, we met with Dr. O, the pulmonologist to go over the game plan.
He is finally going to start treating the pulmonary hypertension with drugs. We have been waiting a long time for that.

We are going to start with low dose sildenafil aka Viagra as a first line treatment and see if we get a good response. If we do, they will do another right heart cath to check the pressures.
The goal here is to actually reverse this process that is causing the PH. I hope he's right because PH is usually a chronic progressive condition and not reversible.
Cardiac and pulmonary auscultation was unremarkable save for a few fine crackles in the left base.

*sips on a neat bourbon*

As far as the cancer goes, I'm about 2 1/2 weeks into bicalutamide (Casodex®) to see if we can reign in the horses that have escaped the barn. I expect to be starting leuprolide (Lupron®) in about a week.
This is not a cure but it could theoretically delay the onset of metastases and hopefully buy me a few more years.

Any chance of a cure is no longer on the table but long term control is very possible. I am always grateful that I am a Gleason 7 and not a 8, 9 or 10. My heart goes out to those who are.
At this stage, pain control is not an issue but I am very concerned with this current nonsense about opioid regulation. If I live long enough, eventually I will require them. If they become over-regulated, I may face the death my father had and I don't even want to go there!
For folks in my position, opioid drugs are our friends.

*sips a little more bourbon*

We are now into monsoon season here in Paradise with triple digits and high humidity. Hoping we'll get a little rain this year. Every year we seem to get less and less.
Outside conditions are less than optimal for any kind of exercise so, once again, I'm kind of confined to the house.

Well, enough for tonight. Keep the faith!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pulmonary News

Dear Diary,

It appears that the 'gods of cardiopulmonary medicine' actually discussed my case in some detail this morning. What a change!
I got a phone call early this morning from Dr. O's nurse practitioner requesting a callback to discuss my diuretic regimen.
They want to start me on another diuretic, spironolactone, in addition to my daily furosemide (Lasix®).

They are going to try to dry my lungs out even further in hopes of relieving some of the arterial pressures. If they can do that, it will automatically make me a much better candidate for future heart surgery. Within the next few months, I will have another spirometry and another 6-minute walk.
Depending on those results, I may even have another right heart cath. to check pulmonary pressures.
Those run $25,000 per test out of which we pay $1,240. We average at least $800/mo direct outlay to 10 medical providers alone to say nothing of misc. expenses such as prescription costs, insurance premiums, home medical care and supplies etc.

We are no longer able to maintain a buffer for emergencies such as vehicle breakdown and maintenance, home repairs and maintenance and property upkeep. The list goes on and on.
Due to the last bankruptcy, we have no credit whatsoever so that is not an option. If my wife wasn't working at the grocery store part time, we would definitely crash and burn.

I have no idea what we'll do if we have to start actively treating the cancer. My only hope is to be able to hang in until next year when I hopefully will qualify for Medicare.

Wish me luck! ;)


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Routine Health Update

Dear Diary,

I saw the cardiologist on the 14th. He was very impressed with my modest weight loss. We have agreed that I should stop valsartan totally as it obviously wasn't agreeing with me. My BP has improved significantly since then.
No comments other than asking if Dr. O, the pulmonologist was going to treat my PH medically and if not, why. I am going to schedule an appointment with him tomorrow.

Dr.B, the cardiac surgeon finally had a chance to review my TEE. He is convinced that the tumor is not causing my respiratory symptoms. As far as removing the tumor, we have all agreed to take a 'watchful waiting' approach until my overall health improves enough to allow surgery.
He feels that my risk of a thromboembolic event due to the myxoma is probably < 2% / year.
I am good with that.

As far as my ongoing weight loss, I haven't lost any weight in about two weeks. I am adhering to the diet plan 100%. The fact that that I can now utilize o2 better is allowing me to be a little more active so maybe that will speed things up.
The improvement in respiratory function is significant enough so that when I forgot to switch my o2 daytime cannula over from the CPAP unit a couple of days ago, I walked around doing household chores for most of the morning with no supplemental o2.
I started feeling a little fatigued by late morning and that's when I discovered the issue. I have no idea what I desatted to during that time as I didn't check the oximeter.

In other news, I finally got the swamp cooler cleaned and operational last week. The Arizona desert is in full bloom right now and the temps will soon be in the low triple digits. The combination is really messing with my seasonal allergies, so using the cooler will save us a ton of money and filter a lot of crap out of the air.

More later when I get ambitious! ;)


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, March 30, 2017

O2 Concentrator vs Tanks

Dear Diary,

I got some interesting news from my oxygen supplier today. Turns out they don't even carry backpack size electrical concentrators any longer. Apparently, they were a nightmare as far as maintenance and upkeep.
My next option is smaller tanks which I could carry in a case over my shoulder.
There are a number of sizes available and this option would allow me to drive without worrying about battery life.
Turns out I can just add this equipment to my regular order without any prescription change or an increase of monthly cost.
Very small concentrators are available from a few other companies but that would require more hassles with the insurance which, quite frankly, neither the wife nor I are up to right now.

Tired with a lot of muscle aches and poor O2 efficiency today. Don't know what the hell is going on. diastolic BP still in the high 40s despite being off valsartan for two days.
Will communicate this to the cardio guy in the morning.

I AM TIRED OF BEING SICK!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Latest News

Dear Diary,

So, here are the latest updates.

This past Monday, I saw my GP for a diabetes follow-up. Much to my (and his) surprise, my usually off the scale lipid panels were perfect, the best I've ever had. I'm hoping it's due, at least in part to my low carb diet. Time will tell.
He also had ordered a CBC which seems to have been lost in transit. I have more unrelated labwork to be done this Monday so I will speak to them about that then.
Also, we seem to have my chronic hypertension under control after all these years! (knock on wood)

Tuesday was a disaster. We had an appointment with the pulmonologist at St.Joe's at 3:00 pm and didn't get out of there till around 5:30 pm. We wound up getting caught in Phoenix rush hour and didn't get home till after six, plus, I was having bowel issues which made the trip somewhat miserable.
On the bright side, Dr. O commented that my most recent PFT has improved and chest films were normal. He actually said that my lungs weren't really in that bad shape. He is still convinced that most of the problem is due to the myxoma.

*sips water*

So now, as a result of that appointment, we finally have an appointment this Monday with Dr. B, the cardiothoracic surgeon. The plan is after I see him for an evaluation, Dr. B, Dr. O, my wife and myself will sit down together for a face to face meeting. If that goes well, I will be scheduled for surgery shortly thereafter. A lot more info. after Monday.
I really hope this plan comes together real soon because, as I've stated before, I am literally sitting on a ticking time bomb.

That's it for now.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Nice Rainy Saturday

Dear Diary,

Quite rainy here in paradise this weekend. It's a nice change from the usual.

The wife is at work and I'm putzing around the house doing as much as I feel I can get away with.
My back and neck are giving me problems, as usual, and the rain isn't helping much either plus my weight in up to 298 as of this morning.
The furosemide I'm taking for water weight doesn't seem to be as effective as it used to be. Not sure why.

I've got an appointment with Dr. F, my urologist this Tuesday to possibly have a quick cystoscopy done to see what the current bladder status is and also to bring him up to speed on the prostate cancer/PSA issue. We hopefully will be putting together a plan of action for when it is needed.

I also have pulmonary testing including a 6-minute walk test and spirometry scheduled for early March. This is in preparation for seeing Dr. O, the pulmonologist on the 21st.
The 6-minute walk test is not a 'pass or fail' type thing. It is merely a practical measure of what I can currently do. I will be allowed to do it on oxygen, fortunately!
This is all being done to hopefully qualify me for heart surgery in the very near future.

The wife is just getting over a head cold which is something neither one of us needs. Hopefully, I won't get it! The seasonal flu is also going around, big time. Both of us have made sure we are properly vaccinated but the thought of getting even a light case is scary. At our age, the flu can be fatal and this year's vaccine is supposedly only 50% effective.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was now on Xarelto® as a blood thinner. My cardiologist managed to get it approved by my insurance but it turns out that my co-pay will be over $200 for a thirty day supply! We cannot possibly afford that so I may wind up back on good old warfarin.
I am currently researching discount plans and manufacturers programs to see if there is anything I can use. Unfortunately, most of the really good programs require that I be uninsured, which, of course, is not an option.
The good news is that Xarelto® appears to be the only one of all the drugs I have to take that it going to be unrealistically expensive...so far.

At my last cardiology appointment, both the wife and I were amazed at the results of the angiogram and other tests that I have undergone. Dr. M says that, other than the myxoma in the left atrium, I have the heart of an 18-year-old! Given my previous lifestyle, that's remarkable. I feel sorry for the 18-year old with my 64-year-old heart! ;)

Money's a little tight right and we were forced to replace the battery in the S-10 just last week. My little granddaughter, Arabella over in Italy had to go without a birthday gift from Papa and Karen again this year. We both really miss them. I'm beginning to think that I may not be around to walk her down the aisle when she decides to get married. She is such a beautiful little girl!
I don't blame the kids at all for thinking we're ignoring them but our lives are in limbo for the foreseeable future and there's not a lot we can do about it.
If I can ever regain even a major fraction of my health, it might be possible to fly over there for maybe a month. We would love to be able to do that. My granddaughter only knows me and her grandmother from Skype,

My kids!



Well, the old lady should be getting home any time now and I hope she is careful in the rain as our windshield wipers are somewhat compromised. Gotta get new ones soon!

I think it's gonna be a really good night for sleeping and dreaming of a better life for both of us.

Good night all!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Monday, January 30, 2017

Update On Cardiac Cath Procedure

Dear Diary,

Here's the update on the coronary angiogram I had done this morning. The procedure itself was less traumatic than having a tooth filled. It took about 45 minutes during which, I was contentedly enjoying the rapport of the cath lab team from a soft, mildly sedated level of consciousness courtesy of Versed and Fentanyl.
They did both a left and right heart study and got direct readings of my pulmonary pressures. They used only my right arm instead of the groin to access the radial artery and vein. Other than two IVs, there are only two tiny punctures. We  were out of the hospital by 2:30pm and home by 3:30pm.
We were there about seven hours...a long day since we had to get at 5:00am.

Good news and bad news. First the bad news. I do have significant pulmonary hypertension, the cause of which we still aren't sure about. The Myxoma may be contributing to it oor not. For now, We will probably try to control it medically.

The good news is that I don't appear to have any significant plaque deposits or any occluded coronary vessels. Yipee! :) This was somewhat of a surprise to me considering the lifestyle I've led!

The next step is to meet with Dr. B, the heart surgeon. At that meeting, we will discuss our options and when the surgery will be scheduled.
I am a bit apprehensive yet at the same time, relieved that we are finally going to get this mess taken care of.

Now it's time for supper!


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Latest News

Dear Diary,

Okaaay, so the latest in this continuing health saga is that I will be undergoing a full right heart cath at St Joe's on Mon, Jan 30th in preparation for meeting with the surgeon who, hopefully will remove the myxoma and correct any other issues that may be present.

The surgery is finally becoming a reality!

To say that I'm not at least a little apprehensive would be a boldface lie, but at least I have some of the best team players in Phoenix.

For the catheterization, I should not be in the hospital more than the better part of one day and will just have to rest for a couple of days after (I'm good at that) ;).

As far as the actual surgery goes, barring any serious complications, the hospital stay shouldn't be more than three or four days at most.

More information to come after the catheterization.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, January 06, 2017

Big News (we hope)

Dear Diary,

So, today is Friday the 5th. Yesterday, we went for my appointment with my new
pulmonologist at St Joe's.

After meeting with his nurse practitioner for about half an hour to coordinate my medical history we got to meet Dr. O. Dr.O is the Associate Medical Director of the Lung Transplant Program at Norton Thoracic Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.
After reviewing all my history and tests over the past year, he feels extremely confident that my symptoms are not due to a lung disease at all. It is my heart.

Apparently, the left atrial myxoma is causing a back pressure phenomenon which is causing pulmonary edema and pulmonary hypertension resulting in exertional hypoxia. He believes as soon as we get the myxoma removed my symptoms should resolve.

He is going to present my case to one of their top thoracic surgeons and to my cardiologist, Dr.M, to develop a plan for surgery. He feels there has been too little communication between the active players over the past year.

I will see him again in a month to go over the plan and any risks involved.
We are also going to meet the surgeon who will do the procedure. It is possible that this can be done endoscopically without having to split the sternum. Less likely, but still possible is their ability to accomplish this without stopping my heart.
Complications are expected however the main concern is if, and how long I will remain intubated post-surgery.

Around that time, I will have another LFT (lung function test), this one at St. Joe's, which will help them decide whether I am a viable candidate for surgery.

Before yesterday, both my cardiologist and I were starting to think that I would have to live out the rest of my life with the myxoma.
Let's hope these people know what they're doing!

Additional good news. With my new health insurance, I can now re-establish my relationship with my last urologist, Dr. F. This could not happen at a more opportune time.
He can now re-address the bladder issue as needed but also take over most of my cancer care.

Life is good! :)    
                       
Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Relevant Ramblings

Dear Diary,

It's been a rough week here in Paradise for yours truly. The weather has been cold and rainy for the most part and my aches and pains are killing me! :( It's mostly my lumbar area and my middle and upper back.
I feel like all my muscles are stiff and heavy (no surprise there!) It's the worst just before I get up in the morning so it's costing me some sleep time.
I'm trying to avoid taking any OTC meds for it because I'm on so many other drugs.
I guess I'll just turn up the heat a bit and wait till the weather changes.

*sips wine and feels sorry for himself*

The bladder bleed is making the rounds again for some obscure reason. That's another thing that's making me depressed. I just feel like a walking disaster area!
I just go day to day, room to room followed by a 50 foot O2 line. I can no longer do any of the things I enjoyed before I became ill and that hurts... a lot.
I'm starting to lose faith that the "miracles of modern medicine" are going to get me through this.
Even if my lungs do get better, I still have that goddamned ticking timebomb that is the myxoma sitting there in my heart. How the hell did I ever get that?

*more wine*

I can't believe Karen is hanging in with me through all this. She came from an entirely different lifestyle and yet she has been my rock for 25 years now. Imagine living 24/7 with a totally disabled,dysfunctional individual.
Sometimes, I think I have driven her crazy. My wife is a saint and I will love her forever.

*pours second glass of wine, (yes, it's cheap)*

Lately, I'm finding myself more and more preoccupied with my own mortality, especially at night when I ought to be asleep. I meditate on what to expect when my final moments arrive.
I want to die well, as the saying goes yet I'm not quite sure how to do that.
It's really not the state of non-existence that concerns me but the way I get there does. Am I doomed to suffocate to death? What is that like? I want a peaceful death, in the hospital where they can control the process somewhat.
I keep thinking that I might rather have the cancer take me rather than the lung disease. For some weird reason, dying by cancer seems preferable to slow suffocation.

I want my mommy! ;)

Do I seem creepy? I hope not but if I do, I can redily understand why. I don't fit into society like other people do. I never have. I've never really wanted to.
Ever since I started school I have been considered weird to people that don't know me well. They seem to see me as someone to avoid. Over the years, I have learned to accept this but it still bothers me when I see in someone's eyes that I scare them. Ok, enough of that!

I really miss my son and daughter-in-law. I am often afraid that I won't ever see them in person again.
I don't think they really believe that I love them both. I fear that I won't see my little grand-daughter again. Time passes so quickly!

Oh well, the wine is taking it's toll and it's time to go.



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

General Update



Dear Diary,

Blood pressure has been real high, (180s) systolic for a couple of weeks now. Talked to the cardiologist about it and we decided to stop the Metoprolol in favor of Carvedilol which is a non-selective beta blocker. We also added Valsartan. Valsartin is an angiotensin II receptor antagonist (commonly called an ARB, or angiotensin receptor blocker), that is selective for the type I (AT1) angiotensin receptor.
Hopefully, these new drugs will get this under control before I have a stroke.

*sips wine*

In other news, I have decided to drop the pulmonary guys that I've been working with for the past year.
I am switching to another pulmonologist at Norton Thoracic Institute which is a part of St. Joseph's Medical Center which is where I had my lung biopsy done.
I have an appointment for the middle of next week for another echo and a vent perfusion scan before I see him the next day.
The last time I had a V/Q lung scan was a year ago when this nonsense first began. At the time, the results were unremarkable. It should be interesting to see what we get this time.
When I get the latest echo, I will ask them to check the status of the myxoma at the same time.

*sips more wine*

All these new goodies mean that the wife and I are going to take a huge financial hit on top of what we already owe. We have coasted for the past couple of months due to my deductibles all being met for 2016 and the insurance picking up 100%.
With my new insurance, I have a much higher annual out of pocket ($7,000) than I did last year so it looks like we're in for a bit of a struggle.

At least I didn't spend this Christmas in the hospital like I did last year. Thank goodness for small favors! Lol!





Cheers!

"Every day above ground is a good day". -- Scarface

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Insurance & Treatment Issues

Dear Diary,

Feeling really depressed today. I spent part of the morning researching my upcoming insurance options for 2016. It appears there aren't any!
My current plan is no longer being offered and my government subsidy that we have been relying on is going to be reduced significantly, partly due to my wife's new part time employment.
I looks like average monthly premiums with either private insurance or Federal programs are going to be around $2,000/month. We are currently paying around $300.
Since premiums that high effectively negate our monthly income, it appears that I will have to go without health insurance. With my current health the way it is, that is scary!
If my PSA continues to rise as it has over the past few months, it is expected that I will begin hormone therapy in the form of Lupron/Casodex, probably every 3 to 6 months'
Lupron is running about $2,000/dose. Not sure about Casodex but is most likely very similar.
Even with insurance, these drugs are far above our budget.
Unless something can be done to regulate these insane prices, tens of thousands of people are going to suffer and die, well before their time, myself included.
The key, I guess, is to try and hang on for another two years so I can get Medicare. Even if Hillary does get in, I doubt that she'll be able to pull off  an early 'buy in'.

I guess my next entry will be next week, after my lung biopsy. Not sure how long I'll be in the hospital this time. After that, we will need to address the heart surgery if it appears that I'm strong enough.
If anyone out there has a little extra cash, any donation to https://www.medgift.com/open-heart-surgery-for-dave helps. We will never be able to pay off my medical bills in our lifetime but we will keep trying!
Thanks so much to those who might consider helping us out as well as those who already have.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cardiac Update - Visit With The Surgeon

Dear Diary,

We saw my new cardiac surgeon, Dr A today for our initial pre-surgery consult. The outcome was pretty much what I had expected. He feels very uncomfortable going in for the myxoma with my lungs in the shape they're in. Says I have about a 6 or 7% chance of dying. He is worried that they wouldn't be able to wean me off the ventilator post-op.
He feels that the current risks of open heart surgery far outweigh the risks presented by the myxoma for the foreseeable future.

All that being said, he does not have an issue with getting a wedge biopsy of the lung tissue. That will involve laparoscopy and a breathing tube when I wake up. The big plus is that I don't get my chest cracked open. Thank goodness for small favors!  ;)
With a little bit of luck, they will then be able to positively identify what the hell is wrong with me. Then the issue will be can it be reversed or do I stay oxygen dependent for the rest of my life?
I will get the biopsy done on October 12th at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix .
Hopefully, I will not be in the hospital more than a couple of days.

I'm back to using my spirometer on a regular basis to see if that helps increase my lung capacity. The last time I got sick with that 24 hour flu like illness, I lost 50% of my capacity. I'm hoping it won't take too long to get it back.

I should be getting some feedback from the cardiologist and the pulmonologist within the next few days. I'll post updates as I get them.






Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Friday, September 09, 2016

Real Quick Update

Dear Diary,

I had my lung function test yesterday. Won't know the results until this Friday when I see Her Highness.
Still need to get an ABG (arterial blood gas) done. Could have gotten it done yesterday but the hospital/insurance interface was fucked up, as usual.

Looking forward to the upcoming appointment with Dr A, the cardiothoracic surgeon on the 22nd.
Hopefully, I will live that long. This is getting old...real fast!!

I am preparing myself to hear the worst. "We cannot operate on you because you would likely not survive the procedure".

I just don't want to leave my wife alone. She has done so much.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Mini Update

Dear Diary,

Sorry about the lack of entries lately. To be honest, not much has happened since my last post.
I'm off the Levaquin®, hopefully for good. I still have that annoying tickle in my upper chest which makes me cough when I inhale deeply. O2 sats are still poor and I am still using O2 at the rate of 3 liters/minute most of the time.

I'm seeing one of the pulmonary team tomorrow regarding the tickle and cough. I want to see if I can get her to prescribe some kind of inhaler to see if it might open my airways a little bit.

We may have finally found a cardiothoracic surgeon. We'll refer to him as Dr A. He was suggested by Dr J, the pulmonologist. We have verified that he does take my insurance but I won't be able to get an introductory visit until near the end of the month. More on him later.

My wife has secured a part time job as a deli clerk at Fry's. This will provide a little bit of greatly needed cash. It won't pay the medical bills but it will keep us out of  the local soup kitchens.

More later.



Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Thursday, August 18, 2016

At Last... Some Real Progress!

Dear Diary,

Guess what? When I saw Dr M, the cardio guy, he actually had good news. It appears that he finally got together with Dr J, the pulmonary guy and they came to an agreement.
Dr J has found a cardiothoracic surgeon who they both trust and respect. He will do the tumor removal and the lung biopsy at the same time. This will be a somewhat risky procedure but nowhere near as bad  as going in twice!

The procedure will most likely be done at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix.It has an excellent reputation and I hve been there many years ago. We will be finding out if my insurance will cover any of this within the next two weeks. Then we will sit down with the surgeon and have what will, no doubt, a very long conversation.

A date for the procedure will then be set and I will begin my pre-surg testing.

This ordeal will be long drawn out and very painful but I think I can get through it with a little help from my friends (not the Fentanyl® and the Morphine® but my real friends, if I have any left!)

All I really have to do is wake up and do what I'm told! Lol!

More news as it becomes available. Wish me luck! This will be the biggest challenge of my life (except high school math!)

Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brief Summary Of Last Week

Dear Diary,

Monday: Saw Dr E for a general follow-up. Got a bunch of prescriptions refilled. Lab results were ok except the hemoglobin which went down to 11.8 from 13.
Probably from so much rectal bleeding. (hemorrhoids)
It was his first day back from vacation and he was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off!
Forgot to mention that over that weekend, I was trying to clean up some broken glass on the front patio and managed to fall into the pile of it putting several nice gashes in the palm of my left hand.
Interestingly, for being on warfarin, it didn't bleed much. I was prepared to go to the ER but the largest bleed stopped in about 30 minutes.

Tuesday: Went for my INR with Dr M. Have another one coming up in a month. Warfarin is currently very stable which is convenient.
While we were there, we scheduled another Doppler to check on the progress, or lack thereof on the part of the Myxoma. I get that on the 18th.

Wednesday: That was the day we went to see DrY, the RO. We had what I consider a good meeting.
We agreed that we are not going to actually 'cure' this so we agree that it's time to formulate a plan designed to slow or stop the cancer for as long as humanly possible.
We will probably kick this off within the next six months. Within that time, I expect to be having as least two consultations with a new urologist and a medical oncologist, both recommended by Dr Y.

Thursday: After breakfast, we took the old battery from the van down to the auto parts store to collect the core charge. $15 is better than nothing!
Spent the rest of the day resting. Did I mention that the wife removed the old battery from the van and installed the new one. I am extremely proud of her (as usual).

Friday: Friday morning, after breakfast, I published the 'for sale' ad for the van in Craigslist. I have never been able to sell anything on Craigslist. We sold the van in a half hour! Go figure!

Saturday: Karen and I both started feeling poorly around the late morning. light fever, muscle aches and pains all over the body and generalized fatigue. I had it worse than she did as toward evening, I could barely walk. During the night, the pain continued and In my case, it affected my lungs causing mild, productive cough and upper left lobe crepitations. We did not sleep well at all!

Sunday: Slept all day!

Since then, most of the symptoms have either resolved or have greatly improved with the exception of my desaturation issue which appears to have suffered a mild setback. Checked in with Dr E who increased my prednisone by 10mg to 20mg/q.d. He also wants me to use Lasix® on a daily basis, at least through the coming weekend.

Well, I've got a few chores to do so more later.


Cheers!


"Every day above ground is a good day".  -- Scarface