Showing posts with label Weight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weight. Show all posts

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I'm Still Here!



Dear Diary,

Well! It looks like I haven't posted anything for two months! Consider yourselves blessed.

The wife just had carpal tunnel surgery which appears to have been very successful. She is off work for up to six weeks and I'm encouraging her to take all of it. She deserves it.
When she returns, she should be able to do her job much more comfortably.

No idea what the damn cancer is doing. I'm not due for a PSA for 2 or 3 months. I've been on ADT for about three months now with no major side effects. Makes me wonder sometimes if it's working at all! The interesting thing is that the bladder bleeding stopped about a week after I began ADT and has never recurred. Weird!

I go for another right heart cath this Thursday to see how the PAH is responding to the sildenafil.
The PA pressure last time was a whopping 70. With any luck, maybe it has gone down a bit.

My weight is holding in the low 260s. I'm currently on another diet push to see if I can get to 250 this time. I went off plan for a few weeks out of boredom and gained a little weight back so now I'm back on the wagon. At least my diabetes and blood pressure are doing great and under tight control. :)

A bit of sad news.
Our beloved kitty, Pumpkin passed away peacefully of old age early Wednesday morning, Oct. 18th. He was here with us at the foot of our bed when he passed. As much as we miss him we know he is better off.
We had anticipated this as he was 20 years old. He was our fuzzy baby for 17 of those years.
R.I.P. Pumper!

Pumpkin 1997-2017
I'll update more as I think of it. Right now, I have a bout of fatigue setting in.



Cheers!


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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Odds & Ends

Dear Diary,

Well now, let's see. What's been going on here in Paradise lately?
Not too much which is why I haven't posted anything in a while.

The wife and I just got a nice, free, pre-owned Serta queen size mattress to replace the futon mattress that we've been sleeping on since we came to Arizona in '94. (no, it didn't come with pee stains)
We've both been sleeping better since. "Beggars can't be choosers".

Our 2002 Chevy S-10 just started leaking oil from the rear differential a couple of weeks ago.
Took it to a brand new garage that we just discovered. Turns out the pinion seal was bad. They had it fixed by the next day because they had a problem finding the part.
So, we got that fixed and finally got the oil changed (it's been a while) for a very reasonable price.
We will be using them from now on for anything I can't do.

Health wise, no noticeable side effects from the ADT (Androgen Deprivation Therapy) that I am on to slow or stop the progression of the cancer. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop but so far, I'm feeling fine with the exception of a little transient fatigue now and then.
I guess the more severe stuff comes on after months of treatment. I can wait! ;)

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I succeeded in losing 49 pounds over the past six or seven months. I've started cheating quite a bit lately, probably due to boredom with the menu, which bothers me. I've gotta get it under control soon before I start gaining again.
It's not an issue with quantity this time but more with what I eat.
Ketogenic dieting works but it is difficult. You really have to stick to the plan.

The bladder problem has at least temporarily resolved. There has been no pain or bleeding for several weeks. I'm still 100% incontinent but that will probably never change. It's just really nice to be able to take a vacation from blood clots and catheters for a while.

I can't really tell if the new stuff (sildenafil) is having an effect on my lungs or not. If there are changes, they are very subtle. I really need to remember to ask Dr. O what he expects as far as effects on the O2 saturation and what time frame we're looking at.
Regardless, I continue to very gradually improve which is unusual for arterial pulmonary hypertension. It's usually just the opposite.

*sips on a bourbon*

On another note, the wife has now signed on with my cardiologist (on my advice) for a baseline evaluation. She just had a Doppler ultrasound of her carotid arteries which was recommended by our optometrist. She has a 60% occlusion of the right carotid. Probably not a serious issue but why take the chance? We want to see how much this increases her risk for stroke.
She also has fairly severe carpal tunnel syndrome. We saw an orthopedic specialist today for an evaluation and she got a set of wrist braces. She will have a nerve conduction test in the near future and, depending on the results of that, be evaluated for possible surgery.

And with that, I'll sign off with one last comment. It is very obvious that we, (the world) are in the so-called 'end times' and we are very grateful to be on the way out and not on the way in!
Does that smack of religion? Not to this old boy! It smacks of reality.
We don't need religion or blind faith to see the obvious!



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, June 22, 2017

Joining The 'ADT Club'

Dear Diary,

A brief update to my last post.
Saw the Uro today and am now officially in 'Club ADT'.
Took my first dose of Casodex 50mg and have a follow-up appointment in 30 days.
At that time, we will start Lupron as well. I hope this will 'reign in the horses' for at least a good while.

As far as the bone scan, he agreed that there was nothing there that was obvious at the present time.
We talked about the merits of additional scans and his opinion was that yes, we could do that, and we would have additional information, however, the
treatment would be the same regardless of the results. Opinions?

Lupron will be about $1500 per injection twice a year. Insurance shouldn't have a problem covering that...I hope.
If they do, we will have to resort to bilateral orchiectomy to hopefully achieve the same goals.

It's not confirmed yet but it's apparent that I have graduated to stage 4 and there is no stage 5 so you figure it out.

* sips bourbon*

All I can really hope for now is that something else takes me out before the cancer does.

It's been a trying week as I am also suffering from excruciating lower back pain unrelated to the cancer. Got some Tramadol from the Uro so maybe that will help. The pain is wearing me out!

*sips more bourbon (no Tramadol involved)*

On the good side, my weight is closing in on 260lbs which is wonderful. I look and feel so much better. Even the wife notices! LOL!

Nothing more to say until I get depressed again.



Cheers!


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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gone And Messed Myself Up Again!

Dear Diary,

I guess it's time to get off the benzos and booze. I'm up to 11 oz of bourbon/night combined with 2mg clonazepam just because my PSA doubled twice in three months. I'm sitting here at midnight wondering if and when I'm going to die and what that's going to be like.

It seems I'm failing every treatment they try and, to me, it looks like I'm going to follow in my father's footsteps, wasting away and screaming in intractable pain at the end.

With all that's going wrong, I'm never going to see my little granddaughter or my son and his wife which really depresses me.

We are now so far in debt that we will never come close to paying it off in our lifetimes.

Below are some pics of those who I may never see again.


My granddaughter, Arabella




My son Chris, my daughter in law Abbie and guess who.
Really sorry for the depressing post but I am trying to get myself and my beloved wife and family ready for reality.
If anyone reading this thinks I am deliberately over-dramatizing my situation, please remember that I don't pay you to read this stuff. This is real life whether you or I like it or not.

Am I feeling sorry for myself tonight? No, just lonely and sad.

Cheers!



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

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Short Update

Dear Diary,

Tonight will be a very short update. (the crowd goes bananas!)

I have a virtual shitload of labwork coming up on the 15th. It's possible that I have a bladder infection probably due in part to somewhat careless intermittent cathing. They're going to do a urine culture to see if there are bacteria in there. My urine has been more or less cloudy for weeks.

Other tests are a CBC and a PSA (standard edition). I'm hoping it has stayed relatively stable over the last three months.

I'm told that the other testing ordered by my pulmonologist is to make sure the new diuretic, spironolactone isn't trashing my kidneys.

More after I get the results back.


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