SO I’m creating this blog in order to have a central location to post updates about what’s going on with me without having to write a bunch of repetitive emails every time I have news.
In case you aren’t up-to-speed, here’s the story so far.
I have been suffering an annoying, chronic dry cough since December of last year. I put it down to the HORRIBLE winter we had here in Wisconsin, what with every day being either in the teens or single-digits, and nights dropping into negative temps on a regular basis. I spent all winter struggling with lack of motivation and low resistance to the bloody cold. In late February, after much prodding from Jeanette, I finally signed up for Obamacare. In early February, after much prodding from Jeanette, she tried to get me an appointment at her clinic. Because my insurance hadn’t started quite yet, they referred us to a free clinic on the west side of Madison, the Our Lady of Hope clinic. We managed to get in there on Monday, March 10th to have me looked at. The doc there was thorough and attentive, and sent me for a chest x-ray.
At this point, we were thinking I had some kind of walking pneumonia or something like that, and we were expecting to be given antibiotics. He had already started my on a med for diagnosed high blood pressure. Well, after a bit of delay, we met again with the clinic doc, and he told us that there was a mass in my right lung. KABOOM. Didn’t see that coming. He explained that these things are usually either some form of lymphoma or lung cancer, usually malignant. He then sent me for a CT scan, which confirmed what they saw in the x-ray.
As April approached and my insurance was about to start, he sent all the information and scans to the UW Health pulmonologist he had gotten me an appointment with. This last Monday, the 7th, we met with Dr. Ferguson, the pulmo doc at UW Hospital and finally got a look at the CT scan images. I tried to follow his explanation and to see what he was pointing out in the scans, but it all pretty much looked like a bunch of blobs to me. Dr. Ferguson then ordered a bronchoscopy for me, which I just had today, Thursday the 10th. It was much like a colonoscopy, but from the other end. They looked around and took tissue samples for the pathologist to make a solid diagnosis. We hope to get preliminary results tomorrow, Friday, and will probably meet with him to go over it next Tuesday. After this will come the treatment plan, which will certainly involve chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. I’m told these things are more targeted and less punishing than they used to be, but I’m still prepared for it to be a grind.
In the meantime, I had been losing a good bit of weight, fighting lack of appetite and some fatigue, and not really feeling quite myself. However, I’m happy to say that, thanks to the efforts of a couple of very good cooks, I have been plied with tasty soups and foods, and have slowed the weight loss considerably. My energy is a lot better too, although I do have to pace myself, and I do get a bit winded with exertion. Spring is slowly, slowly eking its way back into Wisconsin, and the improved weather is helping lift all of our spirits a lot. I am keeping my own focus on getting the information from the docs, and moving ahead to the next step of treatment. My plan is to be a good little patient and do what the docs tell me to do.
I find I am grateful that this is 2014, that I live in a city where you can’t walk 20 feet without bumping into a first-class medical institution, and that I have so very many loving, kind, generous, and cool people around me. I have been playing all my regular music gigs, and that has proven to be life-giving and energizing.
There will be more posts when I have significant news to report from this weird, unexpected road I find myself on. I’ll still probably be emailing and calling some of you, but this will serve as info-central.