Wednesday, August 6, 2014

May I Live in Interesting Times!

As you will know from reading this blog, I have experienced cardiac arrhythmia for many years. In recent months, it has developed into atrial fibrillation. As you may know, a-fib is quite dangerous because it substantially increases the risk of stroke. My doctors attempted to contain the a-fib with drugs unsuccessfully. Finally, Dr. Cardio suggested a cardiac ablation:

It went pretty well and I spent a night in the hospital. Upon reporting a week later for a follow-up visit with the surgeon, I was found to be in atrial flutter. It was explained that it is a close relative of a-fib, but less dangerous. Well, at least I am going in the right direction; from dangerous to less dangerous.

To correct the flutter, I was given a cardioversion: The procedure has returned my heart to normal rhythm!

Next, I visited with Dr. Hema for my six-month check-up regarding my lymphoma. After undergoing preliminary blood tests, I found that my M-spike number, the primary indicator of lymphoma or other cancer in the system, was found to be 0.26. In other words, it is very low and steady and right about where is has been for several years. Dr. Hema said, in short, 'Terrific! See you in six months.'

My lymphoma continues to be about as close to remission as it can get. It may flare up some day, but not today!

I am very grateful and thankful that my lymphoma continues to be quiet.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sunshine on my shoulder makes me squamous.

Step 1: Twenty years at the racetrack, bright sunshine, fresh air. The intoxicating aroma of 113 octane race gas! 

Step 2: Sunscreen is for babies and gingers, not for me.

Step 3: See a doctor about that little thing on my arm.

Step 4: Said doctor mumbles something about squamous cells, and with no sympathy, extracts the little thing and about an inch of flesh in every direction. Sutures.

Step 5: Pay the nice lady at the front desk.

Step 6: Use sunscreen too little and too late.

Step 7: See the doctor about that little thing on my face.

I am recovering nicely. The doctor says that, in 3-4 years, you will barely be able to see that 3 1/2 " scar on my arm! Woo hoo.

Frankly, with all the noxious chemicals that have been floating around in my system to treat my lymphoma, I was a bit surprised that anything remotely related to cancer could survive within a mile of my body, 

In early June, I go back to the Butcher of Fort Mill for a similar procedure on my face. 

Don't be foolish, my friends. Use sunscreen and plenty of it. If a little is good, more must be better!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Great Results Just Keep on Coming!

Today was the postponed date for my six-month follow-up visit with Dr. Hema. Last Wednesday, the original scheduled appointment, we were enjoying an unusual bout of global warming. The temperature was 12F and there was a sheet of ice about an inch thick on our driveway. We rescheduled for today.

I customarily have blood tests about ten days in advance with my local primary care physician. The tests were done, however, the most revealing test, M-spike, was not performed. I wrote a stern complaint to Dr. Primary and emailed Dr. Hema. Dr. Hema said that the IgM result tracks alongside M-spike and, on the most recent test, looked entirely normal, as did almost every other test result. Based on the correlation of the two tests and the normal result from IgM, he felt comfortable omitting just this once, the M-spike result.

I have usually reported my M-spike result, but, unfortunately, all I can report today is 'good enough.'

Dr. Hema poked me a little bit, listened to my heart and lungs and said, based on the blood tests and the smiling, happy man with no swollen lymph nodes that stood before him, that no treatment or alarm was needed and to return in six more months with test results, ideally including M-spike!

I always feel a bit lucky, a bit blessed and quite fortunate when I pass the other patients at Dr. Hema's office. Some are too young to be going through chemo and radiation and other noxious treatments. Some are quite ill. Many wear funny hats to disguise that they have no more hair. Many are having a very tough time of it. I bounced out of the examining room with a big smile on my face and a little joke for the receptionist but I was quickly sobered by the other patients waiting for a life-saving treatment.

My good health has continued now for several years. I hope it will continue for several decades!

As always, a celebratory lunch was enjoyed. Glasses were raised and toasts made to good health!

Thank you, readers, for your well-wishes. They buoy me!