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Friday, March 18, 2016

Important Medical Update

Dear Diary,

It's been a while since I posted, mainly because I haven't felt well enough and I've been too preoccupied with doctor's visits to do so.

We still have not been able to get to the root of why I'm so breathless. This is not good.

I've had to increase my oxygen consumption to 4 liters per minute even when sitting still. I was down to 2 for a while, right now the condition seems to be slowly deteriorating. We have a whole bunch of people working on this.
Seems this is going from a cancer blog into a pulmonary blog.
Symptomatically, we're basically going from day-to-day. Neither one of us have any clue is how this is going to ultimately pan out. Not trying to be a drama queen here, but there is a very real possibility that this may not turn out well.

*Sips Bourbon *

Interestingly, I'm not as afraid as I thought I would be at this point. The thought of death is more a reality than a simple threat.
I just guess that I didn't expect that I would be going in this manner. Karen and I are both hoping that I'm totally wrong about this but if things keep deteriorating as they are there may be an issue.

We will continue to keep those interested updated on my condition as well as any hospitalizations.
Please keep me in your thoughts.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Catching Up On The Past Few Days

Dear Diary,

I haven't posted in the past few days so I'm going to try to catch up a little bit.

We visited Dr. F last Thursday, the visit went well. He was very pleased that I hadn't had any bleeding since the 19th of last month and we set a date for six months for my next appointment.
I will have my PSA draw done in 30 days and we'll review that at that time.

The weekend is gone reasonably well with the main complaint from me being excessive tiredness. The pollen count here is skyrocketing. It's about a 10.5 out of 12. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with way I'm feeling.

Today, I've been beset with excessive bowel activity,  to put it politely. I figure I've gone at least four to five and possibly six times today.
We are entertaining the idea that this may be a side effect of one of the powerful antibiotics that I was taking while  was in the hospital.
Apparently one of them can have side effects up to 2 months after cessation of therapy.
Hopefully this condition will be self-limiting and we can get back to normal after another couple of weeks.

The highlight of the day was I had a nice chat with my son who is currently overseas in Italy for the next four years. This family has been beset with a local virus and has been miserably sick for the past week or two. Fortunately,  my son has managed to avoid this, probably because he's already been there and done it.
They had to skip over to Germany recently and that's where they seem to have picked up the virus.
It looks like everything's under control now and on its way back to normal.

I see the pulmonologist in another three and a half weeks. I have a lot of questions. Although I don't seem to be backsliding, I don't feel like I'm making much forward progress. This is distressing to someone like me. It's about time that we started getting clear-cut answers as to what is actually wrong with me. I guess I can deal with bad news but no news is a pain in the ass.


Monday, March 07, 2016

Another Year Older

Dear Diary,

Today's my birthday. It's nice to be here for it!
The wife prepared an incredible birthday dinner for us and we're right in the middle of enjoying that.
I admit that there are few bourbons involved here so if this entry is slightly inconsistent,  thats why. 

Been having to  self cath over the past few nights. The urine is not dripping out like it usually does. I'm wondering if this has something to do with the fact that I'm  no longer taking oxybutynin which relaxes the bladder to help avoid spasms. I've asked Dr F to prescribe another course to see if that takes care of this issue. I had really become a little complacent about it over the past two weeks and didn't really notice that I wasn't having any spasms.
We'll  wait and see how a few days on the medication works.

That's all for tonight 'cause  we're both getting ready to eat some steak. It's been a real long time!


Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Latest Drivel

Dear Diary,

Well, what's new on the homefront?
The weekend didn't go badly with the exception of a bladder bleed that  started up  on Saturday but resolved itself by Saturday evening. This one was still clearly caused by pressure on the perineal area.
I see the urologist on the 10th. Hopefully we will have an extended conversation about how to ultimately resolve this. It is getting very old! 

Urinary incontinence issue continues to mimic Niagara Falls. Just walking around causes a flood in to the diaper which is uncontrollable.
At this point, I am seriously considering talking to Dr F about the possibility of an artificial sphincter. It would mean another surgery but it might actually be the answer to this problem in the long run. I don't see this resolving itself anytime soon and the information that I getting on the operation and the device itself is optimistic. At the very least it would probably get me totally out of diapers or pads. That would clearly be a blessing!

As far as the Pradaxa goes, it does not seem to be interfering with the bleeds when they occur in any negative way. In other words, I really can't see much of a difference. The bleeding hemorrhoids have been acting up as well but I can't see any change in the duration of the bleeds  with the Pradaxa or without it. I guess that's a good sign?

It's really cool, windy night here in Phoenix. The wife and I are sitting here on the couch having a bourbon after coming in from a nice sit on the front porch. We decided to come in when the wind started to exceed 20 miles per hour.
It has all the earmarks of a great night for sleeping. Hopefully tonight I can keep the bed relatively dry!  Lol!

As far as the respiratory issues go, I'm really not sure where I stand at this point which scares me a little bit. Sometimes I think that condition is improving and other times it doesn't seem like it's moving forward at all.
I'm really eager to get the opinion from the pulmonologist at the next visit but that's at least three weeks off.
Until then I remain tethered to oxygen for the major part of the day. Of course that's old news.

I hope it rains tonight! That will really help the  two of us sleep.


Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Pulmonologist Visit

Dear Diary,

We went to see the pulmonologist yesterday. The visit turned out to be mostly unremarkable.
I chose not to wear my oxygen when I went there and got my wrist slapped very gently for that. It seems that I have to stay on it as much as possible until this is pretty much 100% improved. Now I know what a fish feels like when it's out of water. Lol!

The visit started out with a set of xrays, both PA and lateral. Results show that the area that they've been studying since I was in the hospital has somewhat reappeared. They don't seem too concerned about it but that's the main reason that they want me to stay on the oxygen.
They seem to feel that the area is some kind of result of the pulmonary embolisms that I had.
Apparently, these problems can literally take forever to get rid of.
I'm to see her again in 4 weeks at which time they will reevaluate the xrays and I'll get a walking test. Apparently that involve walking around the area for 6 minutes without stopping while they watch what my o2 percentage does. This would be entirely without oxygen supplementation. My understanding is that if I pass the walking test, I may be able to ditch the oxygen. We'll see.

In other news, something really weird happened here last night. Our next door neighbor got a visit from the Phoenix SWAT team.
The wife and I were just sitting peacefully on the porch having our cocktails or whatever and all of a sudden the street was brilliantly illuminated with flashing police lights and somebody screaming over a bullhorn.
I went to the end of the garage to look out see what was happening and there was a SWAT vehicle along with probably a dozen other police cars. The SWAT vehicle was in the neighbors driveway and the police were next to it with their guns drawn. 
How's that for excitement?
As it turns out, they were serving a standard warrant, looking for drugs. Apparently they found them!
We still don't know all the details involved and probably never will as I saw no sign of this on the news anywhere which, come to think of it, isn't really unusual around here.
Unfortunately, this neighborhood, and especially our little section have been going downhill significantly over the past two or three years. It's a real shame because it used to be a very nice little section.

Well then, that's about it for tonight. It's a beautiful evening out tonight and we're still sitting out on the porch.
The wife just went in to get more cheese and crackers so we're going to just stay here for a while and chill before dinner.