PET results December 2016

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I know this is a long post… longer if you delve into the beautifully detailed images of my innards.  If it gets too long for you… leave for a while and come back later… my ‘hits’ counter will love it.  Either way… thank you for being here.

Okay… from the pic above, I’m sure you can surmise that my most recent scan found a couple of varmints and a half eaten heart living inside me.  I must first let you know that I do not have a copy of the report in my hand at this moment and I am relying totally on the short summation I received from the doc.  Personally… I think that doctors should read any report they receive from procedures they ordered in their entirety to the patient.  If my mind had been where it should have been at the time, I would have asked her to do so.  I didn’t… My mistake.  I am currently awaiting the arrival of a copy of the report from the prompt and dependable United States Postal Service.  Since I will probably take a few days to write this during the holidays… perhaps the report will arrive before it is posted.

I’d like to begin with the ‘good’ news.  The report from the most recent PET scan indicates that there are no ‘new’ areas that are glowing in the dark.  That is indeed… very good news.  The rest of the report… which I regrettably must say is lacking in its quality and quantity… mostly due to my own un-thinking while with the doctor.  I would imagine that there are many of us who have left the doctor’s office… gotten only a short distance away… and said, “Damn… I meant to ask about that”… In my case… I made it all the way home after several errands before the questions started pouring in.

What ‘was’ discussed at the office was the pneumonia and the concern by the doc that my lung had not re-inflated by now.  She indicated that usually they will re-inflate in a matter of a few weeks and that mine was… of course… evidently… an exception.    Although she did not indicate in any way that I could have been… at least partially to blame… for not doing all that could be done to help it re-inflate, I’m fairly certain she must have been rolling her eyes and thinking… “idiot”…, but was just too kind to say so.  After all… I did refuse to try the steroids she recommended… I didn’t use the little plastic breathing apparatus that she so generously gave to me to use, because… it just didn’t seem like it was doing anything worthwhile at the time.  So perhaps I should just go ahead and stamp “Idiot” on my forehead and be done with it.

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Prednisone in small doses is probably safe for most patients.  H o w e v e r… as mentioned in previous posts, the rhythm of my heart is the perfect example of discontinuity in its extreme.  Three evenly spaced heart beats in a row is a very unusual experience for me.  Extra beats, skipped beats, stuttering beats… along with a bit of A-fib… well… that is my “normal” rhythm.  Then we’ll throw in the fact that the firing mechanism has moved from the right atrium to the lower… center portion of the heart… sometimes fires in the wrong direction and throws the chambers out of sync or causes the wrong chamber to beat first, throwing them all out of whack and pumps blood in the wrong direction.  I can’t even explain how that makes me feel.    ‘Out of whack’… that is a good definition of my heart rhythm.  Anytime I see a medication that indicates… ‘may cause arrhythmia’… well… I think you understand my concern.  The doc told me to break the pills in half and take an even lower dose, just to get a little of it into my system for the inflammation.  I’m still a chicken… my wings are flapping… Next thing you know… I’ll be pecking grains and seeds off the kitchen table… Oh… wait… I already do that.

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There has to be a way to relieve the pressure within my chest to help the collapsed lung re-inflate.  I’ve seen where docs cut a hole in your side, between the ribs… and jab a tube through the hole to relieve the pressure.  Perhaps I could just jab a soda straw through my chest and that would relieve it.  So… I think that it boils down to this… how do I make my chest fart? 

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Oh… wait… did I really just say that?  Sorry…

So the saga continues on whether or not to take the chance on the steroids at the expense of the heart rhythm.  Help!!!  Where is that medical research professional that would love to delve into my un-normal-ness?

I’m scheduled for an echo cardiogram next month… Should provide some entertainment for someone.  My current cardiologist (who inherited me because my excellent cardiologist whom I had for many, many years…and trusted completely… had the nerve to retire)… usually looks over the results of my echoes and just… well… grunts.  Yes… you read that correctly… I have a grunting cardiologist.  He also scratches his head and rolls his eyes up toward the ceiling as if looking for divine guidance.  Bless his heart… I always provide a wonderful challenge for all medical professionals that have to deal with me.  He’s a man of few words.

I know that my readers don’t care much for lengthy posts.  Most never make it through more than the first couple of paragraphs before they go clicking off into other directions of the wordpress world.  (in spite of my adorable kitty pics)  That’s okay.  I understand.  For me to read a really long post… it has to be quite interesting.  If you made it this far through this post, then you are one who must have found something of interest and I am honored that you are here.  My last post received six likes and two comments.  I would most likely discontinue posting on this site, except for the fact that those six individuals who ‘liked’ the post and the two very compassionate souls who took the time to comment… are very special people to me… and I thank you with all my heart… arrhythmias and all.

I will wait perhaps another day to post this, with hope that the scan report arrives and I can include it within this text.  Thank you for being here with me… Thank you for brightening my day.

Friday, December 30, 2016
The “official” results… 

Hmmm… Well… I received the copy of the scan report and as usual… I stand more confused than before.  Maybe that’s why the docs don’t automatically read these things to their patients.  There is a lot here… and I will attempt to keep this as short as possible.

Good news first…

No abnormal uptake in the head… well… we already knew that one… empty heads can’t absorb anything…

No “definite”?… focal areas of abnormal uptake in the neck… I don’t understand the ‘definite’ part of this statement…

Okay… the above is the good part… the ‘very’ good part… and what remains is a little of good and perhaps… not so good mixed together and separating one from the other has become a challenge for one of little knowledge… one that thought he had a little better understanding of reading results… both written and of the scan itself…

There is change of the median sternotomy… I know that is where the sternum has been surgically divided to allow by-pass or other surgeries that require access through the chest.  Mine has been wired back together… or something like that.  What it means to indicate that it has changed… I do ‘not’ know.

Calcified preaortic node is seen with uptake of 2.4… this one sounds a bit bad to me, but I have received no explanation of what it actually means.  I know it is in a bad spot and the fact that they assigned an uptake value… although relatively low… I must admit… seems a bit concerning.

Calcified nodes in the left hilum.  The hilum is the area of the lung where the blood vessels and nerves, etc. enter the organ.  I think… calcified nodes aren’t necessarily dangerous but tend to be more so in this area.

Coronary calcifications… That’s all it says… It gives no details, extent of calcification or explanations.

The consolidation in the posterior sulcus right lower lobe is again noted with uptake ratio of 2.2… I realize that this is a lower value… but also realize that on the previous CT scan of that area, there was ‘no’ uptake value indicated.

There is calcified granuloma in the left lateral sulcus.  I think this is probably fairly normal for a scan of an old coot’s lung…

Accumulation in both kidneys… Accumulation of what… beer?

Calcifications in the spleen.  Hmmm…

Diverticulosis coli… I’m not certain on this one… but I have been told… on occasion… that I am full of $#^!…  Perhaps this is just a confirmation of those accusations…

Mild uptake in the bowel.  Normal appendix.

“The” impression:

Wedge shaped area of pneumonitis in the right posterior sulcus showing a degree of uptake in addition to postradiation pneumonitis ‘or’ other pneumonia…  “Or”?

“My” impression:  Huh?

So here’s the deal… I am going to continue to consider myself as… at least… temporarily free of cancer… or at least of any cancerous areas that are of a major concern at this time.  The pneumonia seems to be sticking around for far too long and of course… it does take its toll over a period of time.  I’m tired of being so weak.  If it is caused by the radiation treatments… why am I being prescribed extended amounts of antibiotics?  Am I stuck fighting pneumonia forever?  The collapsing lung is something that I must work on.  I must find a way to become a better patient… to do what the doc suggests I do… after all… she’s just trying to help me get better.

I must add a comment about this report and the scan CD that I received.  On the envelope the disc was in, the correct name and DOB was indicated.  On the images and information within the disc, the DOB was incorrect.  Also… the statement on the report that the appendix was normal… well… my appendix was removed a couple of decades ago… Hmmm… does make one wonder… doesn’t it?

The result of all of this that lingers most profoundly in my mind is that there were no strongly glowing quasars found inside this antediluvian earthling.  The only things that glowed… glowed gently… like a candle burning softly… bringing a vision of hope to those who sometimes wander in the darkness. 

I remain in my state of positive thinking… with perhaps a bit of wonder… more than a couple of questions to ponder… and yes……… a most beautiful “vision of hope”.

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“Petals and Ollie”

Namasté

Michael33

Partial Update… The Call… December 2016

Hmmm… Really?  That’s what you called to tell me the day after my PET scan?  That was pretty much my reaction to what I heard on the phone.  A serious, hurried voice telling me just like I always say I want it told… the truth and to the point.  However, I was surprised to hear the words I heard and had to ask her to repeat what she had said.   My doctor’s nurse then stated the exact same words she had already spoken in exactly the same way she had presented it to me the first time.  Firmly and precisely.  I actually thought that it was a bit… well… crudely stated… but later realized that although I have come to know everyone in this doctor’s office over the past three and half years, while on several occassions, around them five days a week for many, many weeks for treatments…  I shouldn’t expect anything other than ‘to the point’ professionalism.

The call was brief… hurried… and un-personal.  I hung up the phone and just stood in a bit of a daze with a bit of a puzzled look on my face exclaiming… “Wait……… What?”  I wasn’t given time to even ask any questions.  Perhaps that was my own fault due to the nature of the call.  The doctor’s office usually doesn’t call me after a PET or CT scan, they wait until my appointment… usually scheduled a few days afterward to advise me of the findings.  I won’t bring up the fact that some of the ‘hurried and un-personal’ parts of this call could have been precipitated by the fact that the receptionist informed me they would be closing in just a few minutes to have their Christmas party… before noon.  Oh… I wasn’t going to bring that up…

I had wandered away from home for a couple of hours, running a few errands, picked up a bite to eat… okay… I confess… it was something not good for me… but my mouth was ready for some of that spicy Louisiana chicken… yes… with fries.  I never claimed to always eat healthy.  When I returned home, the answer machine was frantically blinking to advise me that I had two messages awaiting my urgent response.  Stop laughing… I know I am one of the few souls left on the face of the earth that still actually has an answer machine on a home phone.  Two messages on my answer machine is a most unusual happening.  I immediately knew that something must be very important to have two messages awaiting my return after having been away from home only a short time.

So I placed my sinful food on the table and pushed the play button to pay the consequences of whatever emergency was awaiting my attention.  Both messages were from my doctor’s office to call them in a very serious voice.  Hmmm… My first thought was… the day after a PET scan and the doctor’s office calls twice telling me to call them is maybe… just maybe… something I don’t want to hear.  I was having a good day… well… for me it was a good day.  I didn’t really want to hear anything negative.  I hadn’t slept much the night before, my chest was hurting through to my back… I was short of breath to the point of having to take long deep breaths just to get enough air… the lymph nodes in my neck were excruciatingly painful… and I was weak to the point of wondering if I could get in and out of my car at the next stop.  Yes… it was still a good day.  I was able to get out of bed… I had made it to the coffee pot… and I was out in the fresh air… upright.  That… to me… “is” a good day.

So what was in that brief… hurried… un-personal phone call?  Here it is, nearly in its entirety and very close to word for word…

“We got ‘some’ of the results of your scan.  Your lung is collapsing and you have pneumonia.  The doctor is prescribing an antibiotic that you need to start taking immediately.  You need to cancel your appointment with the doctor who is standing in for your doctor next week and schedule an appointment with ‘your’ doctor after she returns.” 

Ummm… Okay…?

This was so far from what I expected that I was simply unable to speak.  Just… “Okay”… I can’t say that I wasn’t thinking, because my mind was going in so many different directions, it was just unable to form a complete and comprehensible  question.  However… since that time… I have formed many questions.  My right lung had already partially collapsed taking out about thirty percent of its capacity.  Is the rest of the lung following suit and collapsing completely?  Is that why I can’t breathe enough air to carry on a conversation?  Pneumonia?  Again?  How bad is the pneumonia?  Is it in both lungs or just one?  The antibiotic hopefully will help the pneumonia… but what can be done about the “collapsing lung”?  Is there anything that one can do to prevent a lung from collapsing?  Help!  I’m uninformed.  I never allow myself to be uninformed and I am………. uniformed.  

By the way… this antibiotic was like the last one I spoke of in an earlier post.  I have no drug  insurance so I always have to pay the cash price when I need something sooner than the ten day wait with the VA.  The cash price at Walmart was $114.32.  I went to a very small… family operated pharmacy… and they filled the prescription for $33.00 for the exact same medicine… cash price.  Shame on Walmart.  I won’t go into a tirade on greed at this moment… but it will probably happen at some point.  Medical expenses and prescription drugs in this country are in a ridiculous partnership with greed.  Isn’t it funny how they have managed to make cancer and its associated affects and treatment such a profitable illness.  Our politicians should be ashamed… but they are not… because those very organizations put too much money into their pockets.  I’m ashamed of America for allowing that to happen.  In a future post, I would like very much to discuss the cancer related non-profit organizations as well.  I can only speak on this subject from a ‘very’ personal point of view and trust me… the discussion won’t be pretty.

Wow… this guy just keeps on blathering… I wonder when he’s going to shut up and get to the cute kitty pics… My apologies for the length.  I seem to be pondering on parchment.  Since I do wander into reality from time to time… I have thought that perhaps they just sent the doc a copy of my last CT scan from the summer.  Lung collapsed 30 percent and pneumonia.  Sounds very familiar.  I noticed that they had my date of birth wrong on the disc I obtained.  Perhaps this report is for someone else.

One more thing before I get to the whole point of this post.  If the pneumonia is once again in the collapsing right lung… why does my chest hurt so much worse on the left side?  Just wondering… 

So to complete this partial update.  I am now on antibiotics for the pneumonia… still coughing up… well… ummm… foreign objects… too weak to walk across my yard without pausing every few yards… short of breath to the point that my shoulders and arms are tingling and prickly from lack of oxygen… especially when I’m trying to sleep… barely able to perform the necessities of life and living… Maybe the Veteran’s Administration will come to my rescue… Umm… not a chance in Hell… Maybe my congressmen and senators will lend a helping hand… Umm… not a chance in the same location…

So how do I manage to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor?  I have no idea whatsoever… Perhaps lingering in poetic thoughts on my other site, keeps me from dwelling in the sadness of reality for too long… but I can laugh at myself… I can try to bring a smile to the face of one who is suffering… I can hug someone who finds it difficult to laugh because of things they cannot change… or I can lie in the bed and mope.  I’m not good at moping… I look like shit when I mope.  I could feel sorry for myself… but that would just make me feel worse… and probably look worse.  I like my morning coffee… I have to get out of bed in the morning at 5:00 a.m. or earlier… It makes me “feel” better.  I love to watch the first blush of dawn.   It gives me hope when I can get up and turn on the coffee pot and feed my beautiful and loving kitties… including those who are a total pain in the you know what… maybe those who are a pain in the you know what are the most precious… for they are the ones who love to be “un-normal”.  I know and see many people that are worse off than I… that in itself… is most humbling… Perhaps, I… who… by all statistics and prognostications… should no longer be amongst the mortals… offer them at least a glimmer of hope.

Well… this update will have to ‘be continued’… until my appointment with the cancer doctor later in the month.  I remain hopeful that I can survive the ‘pneumonia and collapsing lung’ and continue in my unorthodox and un-normal way of thinking with a smile and a positive attitude until my appointment rolls around.  In the meantime… offer a smile to someone you don’t know… a stranger… We are all in this together… What I ‘do’… ‘say’… ‘think’… and ‘feel’… affects all of us… What you ‘do’… ‘say’… ‘think’… and ‘feel’… affects everyone else as well.  Always remember… We ‘are’ all one.

I will leave you with a couple of pics of those who are a ‘pain in the you know what’… but aren’t they beautiful and precious little creatures…

This one was ornery from the very first day.  Rescued from the mouth of a very large dog along with his brother at about three weeks old.  Maybe he is so ornery because his name is Garfunkel… but along with his brother Simon… it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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Oh… don’t let Sophie’s beautiful innocent blue eyes deceive you.  She can be quite the wicked woman.  She was abandoned by her mother when only a few days old and terrified of humans.  She struggled in the cold and wind to survive but was unable to eat or drink.  Even with malnutrition and dehydration, she would crawl into spaces to hide from me until she became so weak and sick that she could no longer crawl.  Obviously she has recovered and although she has suffered some medical repercussions from the trauma of her kittenhood… she is otherwise quite healthy… with an attitude…  

Enjoy every single day of your life.  When shit happens… don’t’ wallow in it… make the best choices you can make… learn from your experiences in life… and smile at another… look into the mirror and smile… for you are most beautiful in the eyes of the universe… or from my perspective… my own reflection is most often the first funny thing I see every morning.

To be continued in about ten days…

Please hug your dogs… your cats… your rabbits… your gerbils… and your aardvarks for me…

Wishing wellness to all of you…

Namasté

Michael33