UPDATE #2 - 3-27-09
Yesterday we received a call from the surgeon's office to say that he wanted us there at 9:30 a.m. this morning. He usually isn't in the office on Friday but he wanted us to get the information as soon as possible. The doctor told us that I have Usual Interstitial Pneumonia which basically says that they don't know what I have. This is not a definitive diagnosis but a collection of diseases that don't have answers. Both the surgeon and the pulmonologist that we saw at 1:30 p.m. are wanting me to go to UCLA Medical Center to a specialized clinic and doctors who do nothing but work with these type of diseases. They have already faxed the tests and will be sending the slides that were returned from Mayo in Arizona. From now on, UCLA will be where his lung doctors are located.
I was quite allergic to the tape that was used and my chest looks as though it has been badly burned in places. This certainly added to my discomfort.
The pulmonologist did find that my oxygen blood level is higher than it was before the surgery.
The surgeon told us that some of these diseases can be helped with treatment and some cannot. Neither doctor tried to sugar coat anything but they did stress that they just don't know what it is or how to treat it until a lot more tests can be taken and those will be done at UCLA.
For those who know how to pray, I'd appreciate your prayers for a quick appointment at UCLA and peace as we make the decisions necessary in the future.
UPDATE # 1 - 3-25-09
I had an appointment with my hematologist this morning. (I have had low red blood platelets for over a year.) Today, my counts have risen to 161 which puts me in the low normal range. (It came up from 140 three months ago.) The hematologist was pleased that my immune system seemed to be kicking in.
The hematologist called the surgeon and got the results of my biopsy. I have been diagnosed with Usual Interstitial Pneumonia. When we arrived home we had a call from my pulmonologist to move my appointment from April 1st to this coming Friday, March 27, at 1:30 p.m. We are very glad that I could get in sooner.
Tomorrow I have another test at Mission Hospital. The appointment to remove the bandages at the surgeon's office remains April 1st. More UPDATES as we get more information. Thanks for checking in on this BLOG and for your prayers and concern.
First of all, I want to thank my wife, Ann, for updating you about what has been happening in the surgery and recovery. If you didn't get one from her, it's because you weren't on the huge list of emails that Ann has been sending out daily. That is the reason for the BLOG updates - to get those of you who aren't on her list. Ann has been faithful in letting you know just what has been going on. She's just returning the favor that I did in 2004 after her brain surgery and long recovery. I was updating email and even printing out the update and mailing to those who didn't have email. A lot has changed since then and many have joined the email list. So we aren't doing a mail list.
I asked our son, Rick, to update the BLOG since he has one of his own and is familiar with how it works. Thanks, Rick, for keeping it going until I could get back on. I'll take it from here.
Rick and Anne with Brenda and Scott have been wonderful in helping Ann and me through this tough time. Being with us at the hospital and now at home has been very helpful. Both families have done some shopping for us and getting our meals at home. It is great to have Hannah and Rachel with us at home to keep our spirits up by watching "Get Smart!" DVD shows. Hopefully, we can take over again in the near future and they won't have the full responsibility of helping both parents.
I came home Thursday afternoon and have had a couple of rough periods but mainly doing fine. One thing you shouldn't have is a leg cramp at 4 a.m. when you are trying to get out of the bed for a short trip. I couldn't move fast anyway but a leg cramp has a way of speeding up the process. Painful - but faster!
I won't be seeing the surgeon until April 1st (hummm - something about that day) and hopefully we will have the results of the biopsy then. They sent it out to Arizona to be analysed and figure out how to best treat what I have in my lungs. I hope they will be able to get the bandages off then. Immediately after the visit, we see the lung doctor who is one floor down from the surgeon.
This week we see our regular family doctor on Monday and my blood doctor on Wednesday. So many doctors! These are routine and not particularly related to the surgery. In fact, the blood doctor doesn't even know about it yet. I see him every three months to keep the counts in the right place.
I am able to get around the house now by myself and even did a lot of the breakfast set up today. Any updates I will have on this BLOG will be done here on this posting. Check back to see if there are any new information as we go along.
Thanks for your concern and your prayers. They mean a lot to me and to Ann. We'll get through this.