Showing posts with label Oxygen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oxygen. Show all posts

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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday News

Dear Diary,

Today, I start the new drug, spironolactone, for the pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). It will probably take a few days to a couple of weeks before it becomes clinically active.
The docs, especially Dr. O, seem to feel that I'm nor fully "dried out" yet so this is another diuretic to be taken daily in conjunction with Lasix™. We'll see what happens.

I have an appointment set up for a routine PSA blood draw on 5/15 and one on 5/16 to see my new optometrist. It's been forever since I last had my eyes checked and I can't see worth a shit so I guess it's about time.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call my health insurance company and see if they can tell me if my annual deductible has been met. I find it hard to believe that it has but certain providers have not been charging the usual $50 co-pay that applies to specialists. One even said that it had been met.
If it has been paid, this would be a financial windfall for us this early in the year. I have a lot of large medical expenses coming up and that would greatly offset the financial hit.

General overall health is not remarkable so far. No disasters. (knock on wood!)

I'm sort of dreading this coming month. Our '72 S-10 is due for emissions testing and this year, it has a leak somewhere in the system. If they pick that up on inspection, the truck won't pass and the repair costs will most likely tap our coffers big time! We are trying very hard to save a little bit here and there for just such emergencies but it's very difficult on an income of SS + 1 part time job.

Oh well, I guess that's what growing old in America is all about nowadays!


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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Recent News

Dear Diary,

A few short updates.

First off, over the past couple of months, I've intentionally lost 18 pounds. (yes, Atkins works)
Losing even this little bit has significantly improved my ability to breathe. In other words, I'm now getting more 'bang for the buck' from every liter of o2.

I now have a portable o2 system consisting of 'M' tanks and a backpack for them. This arrangement now allows me to drive again. YAY!
The system uses an o2 conserver which delivers o2 in pulses, on demand rather than continuous flow.
Depending on my level of activity, it looks like I'll get about 1.5 hours @ 3 lpm on average. More than enough to do errands on.

I am also no longer taking valsartan for BP control as it was lowering my diastolic BP into the 40s and making it difficult to even move around. Also, so far, most of the back pain is gone. This is one of the side effects of valsartan.

Right now, I am probably the healthiest I've been in over a year! Let's hope the trend continues.

Seeing my cardiologist this Friday to get his take on all of this.



Cheers!


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