Friday, August 10, 2012

Vacation and a Brief Health Update

Kayaking on Mono Lake



I am on vacation, so this update will be brief. The high Sierras and Yosemite are so reviving to my soul, if not my body. Kayaking on the unique Mono Lake, hiking by trout filled alpine pools and rivers, and the magnificently carved Yosemite Valley put my life back on track and rearrange my priorities. 

Personal medical news:

Because of my multiple unexplained bruises and my history of ITP, I called my local hematologist and he ordered a stat CBC before I left on vacation. My platelets were around 380,000 so the many bruises must be from unremembered trauma moving furniture and many boxes around the house. We are cleaning up and getting rid of more junk, again.  A Zen thing.

The rest of my WBC and diff were normal and my Hgb was up a bit at 13.5. All good.

I also took the opportunity of the blood draw to get my overdue PSA checked. It had been more than a year since my last check and my last CT scans had showed that my prostate was enlarged. The new recommendations against routine PSA screening don't apply to those of us who are immune suppressed. Prostrate cancer is the second most common non-skin cancer in CLL after lung cancer.

Of course since I saw the CT reports, I had developed every symptom of prostatism, all of which have resolved since getting back my normal PSA.

So my bruises were nothing and my prostate is not going to kill me.

My only remaining worry is my persistently annoyingly clogged right ear. It has been hanging on for over three weeks despite two weeks of a steroid nasal spray to reduce swelling in the eustachian tube and five days of Augmentin (an antibiotic). It was slightly red when checked just before I flew to Columbus for my 28 day trial visit to pick up my ibrutinib and get my second to last ofatumumab infusion, but the otoscope findings were very minimal, and with the help of only the Afrin that Dr. Forman recommended, I was able to equalize fine on the plane trips.

The trouble with being a doctor is that I can imagine the full differential diagnosis of a unilateral blocked ear that includes all kinds of terrible problems when odds are it is a simple long lasting serous otitis media (non infectious fluid behind the eardrum) and will resolve over the next few weeks. It is not painful, but it is omnipresent with the constant pressure feeling and cracking popping noises. 

We have all been through worse, much worse. I will have it checked next week and also see the dermatologist for a cancer skin check.

So I am taking my own advice about cancer screening and trying to listen to my counsel about not worrying.

Tomorrow I will see my granddaughter so there will be no time to experience anything but joy. This is our first chance to spend any time with her since February when I first went to Ohio for the trial, one of the big downsides of dealing with cancer: it steals time from your loved ones. I am prepared for the reality that she won't remember her grandparents, but we mean to change that with more frequent visits from here forward. I am so excited.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian, have you read Chaya's article. Bruising can be a side effect of the med you are taking. All the best to you!

August 10, 2012 at 1:57 PM  
Anonymous jcleri said...

How I remember coming back from a 3week vacation and having my Granddaughter not know me.......it broke my heart......it didn't take long and we were right back in the swing of things. She is now almost 21 and we are as close as ever....enjoy her and know it will not take long and you will be her #1.

Beautiful picture of Mono Lake......

Blessings,

Judy

August 11, 2012 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Have a wonderful trip and a wonderful time with your grand daughter.

love from sunny olympic London
Susan

August 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM  

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