I hope you all are making it through what trials and tribulations you have at the moment. Those of you in the East, South, Midwest and Southeast are freezing your keisters off right now, and I’m so sorry about that. I know you are tired of the cold and snow. Those of you in the West, Southwest or Baja are roasting in a drought right now, and I’m sorry about that, too. May we all make the best out of where we are…
Me? I’m giving it my best shot. Above, you see a picture of something, and what the heck is that something? Now, don’t be looking any other place than in the middle of this picture, because the rest is private, and I’m really shy and get embarrassed easily. I said, don’t look there!!!! Okay, so here’s the explanation. What you’re looking at is a CT scan of my lungs taken January 8, 2015. At that time, I was still thankfully hauling around a portable O2 machine, wasn’t walking far (maybe 20 yards), and was speaking in one word sentences. All that means is I was still pretty short of breath. The big black area on the right in the scan is my left lung. My left lung is looking pretty good, and I’m pretty thankful for that. There’s a nice black “O” in the middle of the scan, and that’s my trachea, or windpipe. To the left of that is a big white area. That’s bad. That’s big ol’ icky tumor, with a tiny bit of black in the left lower area. That’s the only area of that lung getting any air, or, it’s the top of my liver. I never said I was a pro at reading CTs, but no wonder I was short of breath!
This is the point I started the clinical trial at City of Hope with Dr. Karen Reckamp and the pulmonary oncology team. I took three pills a day of the super secret medicine for a week, then increased the dose to six pills a day. There were a few speed bumps along the way such as a bunch of blood clots and then some chest pain, but who said it’d be easy? Following is a view of the scan taken March 2, 2015.
See the difference? The area where my right lung should be is black, not white! We like black, black is good, black means air. It’s not as big as the left lung, on the right, but if you’d been sleeping at the switch for the last six months, you’d be smaller, too. This scan helps to explain the chest pain I’ve been having. I’ve felt a band encircling my lower chest and tightening, especially when I tried to take a deeper breath. It would increase when I moved in certain ways, coughed, tried to laugh, and take deep breaths. The chest surgeons explained this pain as textbook, as this is the way my lungs are telling me they want to work, they’re waking up. In their words, “Pain is good.” Leave it to a surgeon! Seriously, having an explanation is all I need to work through it and understand why it’s happening. I may never be able to get the right as “black” as the left as something called atelectasis has set in. This means I’ve lost some elasticity to my lung, the ability to inflate and deflate. This is caused by a disease process, and/or pulmonary inactivity. Some of it I may be able to stretch out, but much of it I may not. I am not complaining. I am ecstatic with the amount of air I’m able to move now, and am working to increase that amount as much as I can daily. This lets me begin getting some exercise, to get out and enjoy my new surroundings, actually go for a hike. Or a paddle.
I am so very grateful.
I’m planning on riding this wave for as long as it’ll break, enjoying the smooth, aquaeous beauty for as long as I can. Maybe even do a few headstands while I’m at it!
Take care, Everyone, and hang in through the rest of the winter. Spring is coming soon! Remember I love you all, and keep doing good things…