Sunday, July 03, 2011

No Throat Cancer

OK - so I had my follow-up appointment with the ENT about two weeks ago. I've just been busy and did not post any updates to the blog (sorry about that).

As you may have guessed, the doctor saw no signs of cancer in the biopsy of the neoplasm that was removed from my larynx. This is great news!! Also, my nasal sinus cavity was healing nicely, and he told me to come back in a month (which is about two weeks from now). I'll be seeing my nephrologist, my dentist, and my ENT all around the end of July (yippie for insurance co-pays).

In "blogger" news, I added a "share this" button for each post. I don't know how many of you do the social media thing, but if you do, feel free to do so here (I don't know if that even makes sense, but to those who will use it, I'm sure it will).

OK - no more long sentences. I'm off to hang out with my little baby (and my wife). See you next time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sinus and Larynx Surgeries: The Next Day

Well, for those of you who read my last few posts, I would like to say: I have survived my surgery. We arrived at the hospital at 8:00 am. The nurse at the admittance desk told me that my surgery would be at 11:30. Too bad no one called me the night before to let me know that. Then, we could have gotten up at a reasonable time. Oh well. They took me back to the pre-operative area about 11:15. I did not go back to surgery until almost 12:45. The surgery was done by about 2:00, and I was out of recovery by 3:00.

I'm none the worse for the wear, I suppose. My nose is a little bloody, and my throat is pretty sore. Based on how it feels, my nose should be better in a few days, and I'm hoping my throat will start feeling better by Thursday. The bleeding in my nose should clear up with saline and time. Hopefully, I won't have to worry about my sinuses for a while (since they got cleared out).

I go back to see the doctor next Tuesday, the 21st. He should be able to tell me how the sinus clearing went, and he should give me the results of the biopsy from the neoplasm on my vocal fold. He said that it did not look malignant, but they would not know for sure until they run a biopsy. I should know more next week.

I'm glad that the surgery was pretty easy. I haven't had to take too much medication for pain management, yet. I went ahead and had a full day back at work today, if that lets you know how I am feeling.

I'll post my biopsy results once I find out what they know. See you next time!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It is one day before my surgery. Tomorrow I get to go in and have some procedures done. Here is what my doctor's orders say:

I have been informed of the risks, possible alternative methods of treatment, and possible consequences involved in the treatment by means of:
  • Functional endoscopic sinus surgery
  • Laryngoscopy with biopsy
under the general anesthesia for the relief of:
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Neoplasm Larynx

That's just the fancy way to say that they found a growth on one of my vocal folds (observed through visual means) and that my CT revealed that my sinus cavities were full of junk (thanks to the CT scan). The doctor will be removing the growth from the vocal fold, and he will have it sent off for biopsy to make sure it is benign. He will also go in and vacuum out (or flush out) my sinus cavities and give me a fighting chance against my allergies (at least for a little while).

As of this morning, I do not have a time for my surgery, yet. They hospital is supposed to call me this evening and give me instructions. We will drop off Hannah with Jenny's mom, and then we will head to the hospital to be bored for a while, then surgery, then back home (yippie).

My only real questions for the doctor will be to ask him if he recommends any antibiotics to fight off lingering infection (now that the growth will be gone). I'm also going to try to ask about post-operative care (what to do and not to do) and if I will need any pain medication. The surgery itself sounds pretty simple, so that should not be an issue.

The last time this doctor operated on me, for my deviated nasal septum, I remember more of the overall day than any other previous surgery. It was interesting to have to get on the surgical table myself, and then to be awake for almost the whole hour of "post-operative observation". (And yes, grammar nerds, I have chosen to go with the more British use of the period outside of the quotation marks. I believe that everyone in America will start doing this, eventually.)

So, that's all that I have for today. If you remember me tomorrow, I could use your prayers. I would ask that the doctor would do his job well, and that my recovery would be quick and easy. See you all next time!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ENT Visit (Forever-Cough)

OK. Here's the story so far. I had some allergy-related coughing and sneezing back at the end of March. At my nephrologist appointment, the doctor prescribed me a Z-Pak (this was early April). I took that for five days, but it did not really help. Then, I called them a few weeks later, and they prescribed me some Avelox (for ten days). That helped, some, but I still did not stop coughing. So, I called the kidney doctor a third time, and they advised that I go and visit my ENT.

I saw the ENT on Wednesday morning. He took a look down my throat, and he saw that I have a growth on my vocal folds (also called vocal cords). He said that it is probably benign, but that it is causing my vocal cords to not be able to fully come together, which allows air to aspirate and can be a big problem with my cough and allergies. He wants me to come back in the middle of June for surgery to have the growth removed.

This Friday (tomorrow), I will have a CT done on my head to check my sinus cavities. The doctor thinks that I probably have a lot of blockage up there, again. If I do, he wants to go and flush them out, again, like we did back in 2008.

So, I am going to have a head CT on Friday, and then I will check with the doctor next week to find out what they see. I'll let you guys know what I find out later. I'm guessing that I will have to have my sinus cavity washed out again.

So, the doctor said it is probably a benign growth. I have a head CT on Friday. I will have surgery in the middle of June.

Enjoy your weeks!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Nephrologist Update: April 7, 2011

OK - so I'm back again, this weekend, trying to catch up on my blog posting. As you can see, I'm still posting one month in arrears. (I admit, I phrased that last sentence just to use the word "arrears").

I went to see my nephrologist back on April 7 for my normal quarterly appointment. They confirmed that my work-up from January all looked fine. For those who do not remember, I had my annual Glofil appointment back in January. The doctor was concerned that the test results were much lower than they should have been. They had me turn in a 24-hour urine collection just to double-check the results. As it turns out, I am in the upper 70's (I don't recall the exact number). This is a little lower than the 80.2 that I got last year. They did not seem concerned about the lower number. Being in the 70's is probably still pretty good for a post-transplant patient. And, we will see how well I do next January.

Unfortunately, the clinic was having their computer system updated the week that I was there. That means, they were not able to get me my blood work results for that session. I have been feeling pretty good, so I am not concerned about not having results.

My only negative this appointment was a persistent cough. I started coughing about a week before my appointment. The doctor gave me a Z-Pack. I took it for five days, but it didn't seem to do much for me.

If we fast-forward to the present, I am still coughing (May 8). I called the doctor again this week, and I got a 10-day prescription for Avelox. I am also scheduled to see an ENT on May 18. I'm hooping that he will have some kind of suggestion to help. That, or maybe the Avelox will be working by then and I won't need anything. We shall see!

That's all for this week. If I do my job right, then I should post again after the May 18 appointment. That will get me completely up to date. And, I should be better by then (if everything works right).

See you later!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Cardiologist Update: April 5, 2011

I had my most recent cardiology appointment back on April 5, 2011. I last saw the doctor about six months ago. I will help you catch up, in case you have forgotten (or not been reading).

I have a mitral valve prolapse. I have been followed by a cardiologist since I moved to the Dallas area back in 2001. The doctor has been following me every six months for a while. When she retired, I got a new doctor. He looked at my echocardiogram and had me come in after three months. But, based on those two scans, he had me come back in six months. There had been a fear that my heart was getting worse, but it turns out, it was not a problem.

So, we are now caught up to April 5. I had my twice a year echocardiogram. The doctor took a look, and he was very pleased. My last three scans all looked exactly the same (the two three months apart and the one in April). So, he was very pleased. He decided that I do not have to be back for another year.

So, it seems that all is well, in terms of my mitral valve prolapse. I have not gotten any worse in the past year, and the cardiologist does not want to see me for another year. It has been my experience, so far, that the doctor NOT wanting to see me is a good thing.

So, you should not hear another heart update from me for at least a year. That will be great! As long as there are not any future problems, then I won't have to go back to see him. I did go and see my nephrologist on April 7. My next post will be about that.

See you next time!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kidney-versary #4 (And Other News)

Guess what? I remembered that I have a blog! I'm sure you're all very excited. I look forward to my hit counter jumping by at least one point this week. I'm sorry that it's been a while since I have blogged, but I think my time has been concentrated elsewhere for the last year :)

Post-Transplant Lab: October 07, 2010

As you can see, I plan to break up this post into sections. At least then, you can scroll around a little and read what you feel is important (to you). I saw the doctor for my normal four-time-a-year appointment back in October. The last useful information I probably posted was about my cardiologist, but here we are back to nephrology. The doctors ran all of their standard tests. They came back with a 1.1 in creatinine (which was the same as it was on July 8, 2010). They do not worry about a creatinine until it is higher than 1.1. My BUN went up from 10.0 to 12.0 (the normal range is 7.0 - 21.0).

The other lab numbers looked pretty consistent. I'm happy to say that the regimen that I am on (diet, exercise, medication, and doctor care) have kept me in about the same place since my transplant. They also had me do a 24-hour urine collection before the appointment, and those results all looked pretty normal. All in all, the doctors said that I was in great health, and that I should come back in three months.

On a side note, I asked about chicken pox. At the time, Hannah was nearly one year old, and she was scheduled to have a live chicken pox vaccine between 12 and 18 months. The doctor said to avoid all bodily fluids from her for (I think) one week (maybe two weeks) after she has the vaccine. I'll ask Jenny, as she will remember how many weeks it is. It will be sad, once she has the vaccine, that I have to basically avoid her. (Babies are constantly producing bodily fluids of some kind).

Glofil Appointment and Labs from January 13, 2011

This brings me to the present. Hannah has not had her chicken pox vaccine, yet. I have not had to avoid her. Oh, and it's been kind of cold here in Texas. Also, I rode in a car for a total of four days with Jenny's family to go and see her relatives in Arizona. It was a good trip, and I think I did a good job of staying hydrated (except when we were in the car).

As the title of this section implies, I had my annual Glofil appointment on the 13th of January. If you are new to the blog, click on Glofil appointment for my short explanation of the test. The short answer is: you are in a lab for four hour, drinking water, collecting urine, and having blood drawn to measure kidney function.

I've always thought that this was the most accurate test that they can do for your kidney function. But, it seems that even this test can have errors. My Glofil results have been in the low to mid 80's since my transplant. My understanding is that a perfectly healthy person would have a score of 100 (perfect). When you are pre-transplant, they cannot put you on the transplant list until your Glofil is less than 20. Once you are less than 10, then they recommend starting dialysis. My score came up as a 71! This sounds bad, to me, but the doctors were not worried.

They ran the standard labs on me, as well. My creatinine was down to 1.0 (from 1.1 last time). My BUN was consistent at 12. I have an HDL (cholesterol) of 43.0 mg/dL (range is 21 to 74). My LDL is 69.0 mg/dL (range is 44 to 136). My cholesterol is 122.0 mg/dL (range is 0 to 201). My triglycerides were 120.0 mg/dL (range is 0 to 201).

The doctor seemed to think that the lower Glofil score was not consistent with the rest of my blood work from that day. She said that it may be something else was going on, or the test results were slightly off, or something happened (who knows?). So, she suggested that I do another 24-hour urine collection this weekend and return the results on Monday. That way, they can test the creatinine passed in the urine over the course of an entire day and see how that compares to my blood work and to the Glofil test. As long as the 24-hour collection and the blood work match up, then they will not worry about the odd Glofil score.

They also did my yearly bone density test at this appointment. They've updated their testing criteria and are not longer worried about the radioactive part of the Glofil test. The unofficial word is that my spine's number was slightly down, and my hip's number was about the same. I am still at the very edge of the osteopenia range (almost normal). She advised working out using weights or resistance to help push me up into the normal range. She also said that the spine fluctuates more than the hip, so the difference there was not unexpected.

I think that is about it for me for today. I have to do my collection and turn that in on Monday. I won't hear anything back from the doctors unless there is a problem. So, have a great day, and this is me, signing off for now.

See you all next time (when I hopefully remember to blog sooner after an appointment)!