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

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Kind Of Bored On A Sunday Afternoon

Dear Diary,

It's an unusually quiet Sunday afternoon here in Paradise. I'm just sitting around with the cats and feeling about as lazy as they look!

Wife's working until 5 tonight so I'm just trying to get the house a little bit back together.
Being constantly tethered to a 25-foot oxygen tube is getting old. I tend to keep tripping over the damn thing.

Things have been going a little slow with that because I've been plagued with a persistent case of the trots since I got up this morning. I hate it when that happens! Probably due to the ingestion of too much hot sauce, LOL!

I've got a routine appointment coming up in a couple of days with Dr E, my GP.
He will doubtless be upset about my unfortunate weight gain.
I do realize that probably at least 50 to 60% of this is my fault but I'm still wondering if the hormone that I'm taking for the prostate cancer isn't at least partially to blame.
I'm going to be talking with him about that as well as letting him know that I'm hooking up with a bariatric specialist.

I'm currently at 290 lb and my breathing is beginning to be compromised again. I just seem to have lost my taste for the low-carb high-fat diet that I was on and I don't understand why that would happen.

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I'm planning on discussing the technique of intermittent fasting with the bariatric person. I've never tried it.
Maybe she will have some insights that I'm not aware of.

Lately, for some reason, I seem to have lost my taste for hard liquor. I don't know how that came about but the only thing that I have a taste, for now, is beer and wine and beer is pretty much out of the question so I'm down to just drinking a couple of glasses of wine every once in awhile. Whether I keep on drinking wine depends on how it affects my blood glucose.
My alcohol consumption has seriously diminished which I guess is for the best.
I'm happy to say that I haven't had any significant bouts of fatigue or depression in98 the past few weeks. This is a new, hopefully, upward trend. I hope it doesn't mean that the Lupron isn't working anymore!

As far as the Lupron goes, I really must be one of the lucky ones because going on a year of ADT, I really haven't had any significant side effects whatsoever but I've mentioned that before in previous posts.
If I sound repetitive from time to time, it's because my memory is not what it used to be and that is due to the hormone.

Believe it or not, now that the weather is getting a little better, I'm actually considering trying to get out and do some walking at least every other day. There is very little I could do that would be better for me!
I may also be able to start getting in a little tiny bit of outside work around the house which would be beneficial to my health as well.

I really am trying to start moving forward with these goals but this type of thing has always been hard for me, even in the best of times.

Well, enough rambling for today.
Wish me luck at the doctors on Tuesday!


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

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Today's Six Minute Walk

Dear Diary,

Just had my latest six-minute walk at St Joe's this morning. Despite my recent weight gain of 28 pounds, I only lost 7 meters in distance from the last time which really surprised me.
Their baseline goal is 400 meters in six minutes. So far, I have always come up short of that.
They really want me to get my BMI down to 33, minimally before they will even consider surgery.
My current calculated BMI is 40 and getting it down to 33 would require me to go from my current weight of 288 to 235 before they would seriously consider cracking my chest open.
This is not an easy task! :(
I am going to follow their advice and have a consultation with one of their bariatric docs. I'm not too optimistic that she will be able to help but I'll at least give it a shot.

Medicare kicked in exactly as expected, thank goodness and we had zero payments or co-pays for today's visit. :)

Today was officially my 65th birthday but I don't feel a day over 90, LOL! Trying to decide if I should allow myself a nice, big chunk of birthday cake!!! Updates to follow.


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

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Probably Set Up To Fail!

Dear Diary,

Alas, the ill-fated six-minute walk at St Joe's is actually tomorrow, the 7th, which also happens to be my 65th birthday. It will commence at 0830 hours and followed up with a consultation with Dr. O, the pulmonologist.

For some reason, I thought the appointment was farther out than that so, unfortunately, I have no time to lose any weight. The added 20 pounds will likely cause me to fail the test. I hope they can see that the weight is responsible for the failure and not disease progression!

This will also be the first time using Medicare so hopefully, that will go well.

*fifteen minutes pass*

Good news! I just got off the phone with the Health Insurance Marketplace and have successfully cancelled my primary insurance, effective March 20th.

Some potentially bad news. It appears Wal-Mart pharmacy is no longer honouring my prescription discount plan for Xarelto, offered by Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
This is bad because I have been eligible to get the drug without cost and now it appears I will have to fork over $200+ each and every month which is not possible for us.
Not sure if this has something to do with the transition to Medicare or not.

More on that later. Gotta go schedule a lab appointment now.


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

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Brief Late Night Musing

Dear Diary,

Just a quick post for now regarding my weight.

I have a six-minute walk scheduled within the next two weeks and I'm gonna fail it for sure unless I can drop a few pounds before then. I'm down a couple of pounds since my recent maximum of 289 but I'd really like to show up for the testing at around 279.

I'm still cramming in the carbs which is ridiculous. As a matter of fact, I just finished a large dinner of pasta and sauce (I passed on the garlic bread)!

I just don't understand why I let myself get like this!

More later.


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

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!


"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!


"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!


"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! ;)


"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! ;)


"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.


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