Monday, August 31, 2015

What? -----------A YEAR!!!!! Part 3

I started telling of Mickey's heart-health journey & Aorta Heart Valve replacement, that began on July 30, 2014 with an appointment with his primary care physician with shortness of breath.  I posted Part 1 on August 1, and Part 2 on August 3 and am just now getting back to post Part 3.  Why the long delay?  A very busy, happy life got in the way!!

Part 2 ended with this paragraph --- February 17 - Our first appointment with our new Primary Care doctor, Dr. Aldridge.  He is an older gentlemen.  When we first go in I tell him our story, and that I feel we are being "dropped through the cracks."  I am sure he is probably thinking, "Oh these are some of these complaining type patients'.  BUT, after he looks through all the computer records and our history to this point and Dr. Parmley being gone he says, "You have been dropped through the cracks, but I'm putting a safety net under you today."  I could have hugged his neck.  We could feel the concern and the caring. 

February 18 - In the midst of all this, because Mickey was having trouble with his dentures, we decided to get new dentures made.  In hindsight, it was not a very good idea because it took a lot of visits back & forth and Mickey was so very sick.  

February 19 - At 6:05 p.m. I received a phone call from Leslie, the TAVR nurse, informing us the blood test Dr. Archer had taken on the 12th shown Mickey had MSRA.  I am instructed to call a group of 5 Infectious Doctors the next morning. 

 At the time this phone call was received, our kitchen sink faucet had just sprung a leak and we had water spewing everywhere.  Mickey, as ill as he is gets the water shut off, we call our church friend Tim Hembrey, who is such a help, and we rush to Lowe's to buy a new faucet.  At this point I almost come unglued!!!  Tim comes right over and replaces the faucet.

This was absolutely one of my lowest points.  I'm thinking "Dear God how much more can happen?" and then of course the never will be answered questions - "Why?".  I don't know why we ask it, because we never get an answer.  But, even in the midst of this horrible time we were so blessed by Tim in coming to our aide with just a phone call, and a "help!!!".   

February 20 - I call the Infectious Doctors at 8 a.m.  Dr. Rolands will see us but we cannot get in for several weeks.  I am not at all happy with this delay.  I ask them if there is not some way for Mickey to be seen sooner.  The lady helping me tells me that if the Primary Dr. calls and personally talks to Dr. Rolands they might be able to work him in sooner.  She also is kind enough to inform me that Dr. Rolands will be in the office Monday, the 23rd, in the afternoon and can be reached at that time.  This was a definite, direct blessing of God in moving on this stranger to offer this help to me. 

This is our granddaughter, Oksana's, 20th birthday and we have plans to meet the family for dinner at 5:30.  The restaurant is packed, we have to wait, Mickey is so weak and so sick but we would not have missed it.   

February 21 - Our dear friend Kent Rife and Cathy Kegley are getting married.  I host a small Bridal Shower for Cathy at my home.  

February 23 - I call Dr. Aldridge at 7:30 a.m. to talk to the nurse.  I am in tears, telling her about the MRSA and asking if Dr. Aldridge will intervene for us.  She assures me they will handle it.  At 4:30 that very afternoon she calls me back - Dr. Rolands will see us on Wednesday at 1:30.  PRAISE GOD - Yes, Dr. Aldridge is making sure we don't fall through the cracks and is putting a safety net under us.

Dr. Aldridge also calls in a prescription for Mickey's cough and is going to set up an appointment with Dr. Grace Kennedy, a lung Dr.   A very bad day and Mickey takes an evening pain pill before bed, the first in quite some time.  

February 24 - We have to go in for an adjustment on the dentures.  Mickey is so very sick and weak. 

February 25 - We see Dr. Mark Rolands, the Infectious Disease Dr. at 1:30.  Marc meets us at his office.  After the appointment we are sent down stairs to the lab.  Mickey is so weak, and hardly able to stand.  Marc & I decide to drive immediately to the ER at St. Francis Hospital.  It is 3:15 p.m.  Mickey faints as they are doing the X-Rays and is immediately given a large dose of medicines because his potassium level is 6:4 and must be below 5:0.  He is admitted to the Hospital. He is going into Renal failure. 

February 26-27-28- March 1 -2 - Mickey is hospitalized these 5 days.  On the 26th the potassium level is 4:6.  

On the 27th Dr. Kennedy comes to see him for the first time.  Also on the 27th Dr. Trahand, from the TAVR group, comes and they run a test to see if they need to do an interim balloon procedure first, as we want for the Valve Replacement.  
On the 28th - Dr. Kennedy comes again and Dr. Trahand decides NO balloon valve.  We are relieved.  This would have been yet another procedure and had great risks of stroke.  

March 2 - Dr.Kennedy performs a Lung Scope and Mickey is discharged at 2 p.m.  Mickey is so glad to be home again after 5 days hospitalization. 

March 3 - I ask my dear friend Glenda to host the WOW Woman Bible Study and she so gracious does.  

March 6 - Appointment with Dr. Kennedy.  Excellent report - no cancer - no MRSA.  PRAISING GOD once again. 

March 10 - Appointment with Dr. Ensley - He is given 2 inhalers and CR Scan & blood work is done.

March 11 - Follow-up appointment with Dr. Aldridge.

March 12 - Heart Hospital at 9:30 for Heart Cath & heart measurements.  Appointment with Dr. Archer, the TAVR Surgeon, at 1:45.

March 13 - Back for further adjustment on the dentures.

March 15 - My dear, forever friend, Joan, who is a nurse from New Mexico, offers to come and stay with us to help but I decline.  

March 16 - Appointment with Dr. Rowlands.  He is ready to give the go ahead for the TAVR as soon as he gets final results from Dr. Kennedy.

March 19 - Dr. Kennedy determines the infection to have been Micro Bacteria A typical and gives her OK for TAVR.


March 26 - Follow-up with Dr. Aldridge.  We are monitoring blood pressure and watching about weight and swelling in his feet and legs.  

March 27 - Appointment for a 2nd opinion about the TAVR from another surgeon, Dr. Carabello.  Because of Dr. Parmley's departure and the severity of Mickey's case they are being very cautious about giving the final approval for the TAVR.  We are getting very impatient with the delays.  

March 30 - Yet another Denture appointment thrown in to this mix. 

March 31 - We go to The King's Kitchen to meet with Dee from Meals on Wheels in Tulsa.  She has been wanting to come and meet us and see our operation.   Although Mickey & I have been absent from King's Kitchen the crew, under the leadership of Jimmy Arnold is keeping up well with everything.  Mickey is so very blessed with this knowledge. 

April 4 - We attend a Celebration for our dear friend Ron, who passed away from cancer.  It was sad and joyous at the same time.  A very strong reminder of how suddenly life can end. 

April 6 - Appointment with Dr. Aldridge.

April 7 - The TAVR Committee meets.  We are told they are delaying their decision until May as they are bringing in a Proctor from out of state to be present.  We are very discouraged with this news.  We feel we are on this tread mill going no where fast and Mickey is so weak.  

April 9 - Feet badly swollen. 

April 10 - We attend the wedding of a dear couple in our church, Jeremy & Jenny.  

April 12 - My dear blog friend from Phoenix, Kathy Wright and her daughter Bethany, come and spend a wonderful day with us.  

As you can tell we are trying to keep doing the things we can and enjoy life.  

April 14 - Dentures again. 

April 15 - Dr. Aldridge .

April 16-30 - We are just getting by day by day, one day at a time.

Although we are tired, and we are discouraged about the TAVR being delayed through no fault of our own, we are still confident in the outcome.  We feel the presence of our LORD & SAVIOR on a daily basis. We stand in the knowledge and assurance that God is walking this out with us one day at a time.   I am still co-leading the Real Christianity Small Group and Mickey is still keeping informed on the Deacon issues.  Many from our Church family are such a blessing to us in so very many ways during this time.  We manage to attend church each Sunday & Wednesday.

Looks like I'm going to have to stop here again. YES, it is a very l-o-n-g year. 

To be continued -----

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Monday, August 3, 2015

What? ------- A YEAR!!!!! Part 2

Yes, our adventure of Aorta Heart Valve replacement,  which began July 30, 2014, and then Cancer of the Lung diagnosis, biopsies and pet scan continues into 2015.  But, with the wonderful news, and the best Christmas present ever received on December 23rd, that it had NOT spread to the lymph nodes, as feared, and is contained in the lung.

January 8 - Surgeon Dr. Parmley removes the upper left lung lobe which contains the cancer.  Dr. Parmley's report is they were able to get it all.  We are relieved.

What was intended to be a 5 day hospital stay turned into a 14 day stay. The problem, and reason for the long stay, was they could not get the draining of the lung fluid stopped.  They seem reluctant to release Mickey and Dr. Parmley has not been in to see Mickey for several days.  On January 20th, our son, Marc, had gotten upset over what seemed to be going on and talked to the two PA's who had been checking Mickey, and the draining, and demanded Dr. Parmley come see him.  Within an hour one of the PA's is back and says they will release Mickey the next day.

January 21 - Mickey is released to come home but the fluid is still an issue and I am going to have to change the bandages.

We are all very weary from the long hospital stay and drainage problem but confident that this is yet another hurdle that we will get over.  We cling desperately to God's assurance to us that He is not through with Mickey and His plans and purposes for our lives.   

January 22 - Our first wonderful day at home. He is released to come home but the fluid is still an issue and I am going to have to change the bandages. Praise God for our Church friend, John Gummel, who is a nurse, and who came over each and every day to do this for us. 

January 26 - The bandage sprang a huge leak, during the middle of the night. It was so bad I had to change the bedding in the middle of the night. Mickey, for the first time had a panic attack and so did I.   

January 27 - John came and redid the bandages AGAIN and calmed Mickey's fears saying there was probably a "pocket" of the flood in the area that bust and not anything to be concerned about.  

January 28 - was another rough night of little sleep.

January 29 - Talked to Leslie, a nurse with the TAVR group.  She informed us that Dr. Parmley was gone.  In fact, he left on January 23rd, 2 days after Mickey was discharged!!!  Now we are without our main TAVR Dr. who was the one qualified to do the Aorta Valve Replacement.

We are so thankful for our faith and trust that NONE of this has, or is, taking our Lord and Savior by surprise, although it certainly took us by surprise.  We cling.  Another hurdle to overcome and HE will guide and walk us through it.  

January 30 - We make a trip to the TAVR clinic and nurse Leslie, uncovers the wound area, applies an ointment and removes stitches.

February 1 through 10 - We are continuing to treat the stitched area but it is not looking well.  We make several trips to see Leslie, the TAVR clinic nurse.  She assures us all is well.

February 11 - We see a different nurse, Katie, at TAVR clinic.  I show concern that no Dr. appointment for follow-up has occurred.  She says she understands but with Dr. Parmley gone, Dr. Archer & Dr. Ensley are having to handle all their own patients plus work in Dr. Parmley's and doing the best they can.  I tell her, "I feel like we have fallen through the cracks".  She leaves the room for a few minutes and when she returns she says, "Dr. Archer will see you in the morning, if you can be here by 8 a.m."  Can we!!!  I would have come at 5 a.m. if necessary.

I am praising God that I spoke up and that God intervened in our behalf and we are seeing a Doctor.   Over yet another hurdle!!

February 12 - 8 a.m. First appointment with Dr. Archer, who is concerned with all the weight Mickey has lost and says he could not undergo the TAVR procedure unless we can build him up.  He prescribes an appetite enhancement drug that ends up costing us $376 !!!!    

This day was a very, very sad day as we attended the funeral for a young 39 year old woman we knew.  Her mother attends my Women of the Word Bible Study that meets at my home every Tuesday evening.  

February 17 - Our first appointment with our new Primary Care doctor, Dr. Aldridge.  He is an older gentlemen.  When we first go in I tell him our story, and that I feel we are being "dropped through the cracks."  I am sure he is probably thinking, "Oh these are some of these complaining type patients'.  BUT, after he looks through all the computer records and our history to this point and Dr. Parmley being gone he says, "You have been dropped through the cracks, but I'm putting a safety net under you today."  I could have hugged his neck.  We could feel the concern and the caring.  

To be continued.............  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What? ------- A YEAR!!!!!

The title says it all - but little did we know at the time.  

July 30, 2014 Mickey sees our primary care Physician with concern over becoming increasingly short of breath.  (As an aside:  Mickey had double-bi-pass heart surgery in October, 2008 at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City. We decided we did not want to use VA this time and be hospitalized at either Oklahoma City of Muskogee, so we opted to use our regular insurance carrier.)
 A few tests are run and he is referred to Cardiologist Richard Irvin.

August 28 -  First appointment with Dr. Irvin. 

September 9 - Dr. Irvin performs a Heart Cath.

September 14 -  Dr. Irvin orders an Ultra Sound & Echo Cardiogram.  

October 13 - Based on the Heart Cath, Ultra Sound & Echo Cardiogram Dr. Irvin's conclusion is the Aorta Valve needs replacing. 

Mickey is referred to TAVR, which stands for transcatherer aoritic valve replacement, for people who are considered high risk for a standard valve replacement surgery.  The TAVR is a group of 4 Drs. who must all evaluate the patient and must ALL agree that the patient qualifies for the replacement. Mickeys age, 82 years, is also a factor. 

At this time we are becoming very aware that we are facing a very difficult and serious challenge.  As we seek God's direction and guidance we are BOTH assured by God's Holy Spirit that even though we are going through a difficult season we will walk through it safely and the end will be good.  We have complete assurance that 'GOD IS NOT THROUGH WITH US YET' and has much more for both Mickey & I individually, and collectively, to do in the future for His kingdom. We are at utter peace, 'That peace that passeth understanding". 

November 5 - Beginning at 9 a.m. and running through 12:45 p.m. 4 different tests are preformed at St. Francis Hospital by Dr. Edward Morris, Dr. Thomas Smith & Dr. Ralph Ensley in preparation for the TAVR procedure and to ascertain Mickey's qualification.  

November 11 - Appointment with Dr. Matthew Parmley & Dr. Ralph Ensley where Mickey is informed the tests have shown 'something' in the left lung.

November 17 - A biopsy is performed to see what the 'something' is. 

November 19 - The biopsy tube is removed. There is suspicion it might be cancer.   

37 days after our peace & assurance from God we are now facing our first unexpected hurdle and challenge.  We view it as that - a hurdle we must get over and through. 

November 25 - We are referred by Dr. Parmley to a Lung Specialist, Dr. Timothy Nokes, for an assessment to whether Mickey could tolerate both lung surgery and the TAVR procedure.  His conclusions was affirmative.  Over THAT hurdle.

November 26 - Pet scan to determine if mass is cancerous. It was!  The scan also showed a possibility of cancerous cells in the breast bone. 

December 10 - Consultation with Dr. Parmley.  The small lung mass can be addressed and they believe removed successfully surgically, but if there is cancer in the breast bone EVERYTHING is off --- no TAVR, no Aortic valve replacement.  He schedules a Mediastinoscopy.

21 days after hurdle #1 we are facing hurdle #2.  Our peace, our confidence, our 'knowing' God is faithful and with us is holding and sustaining us.  

December 12 - More tests at St. Francis Hospital in preparation for procedure. 

December 18-19 - Mediastinoscopy if performed by Dr. Parmley.  Results will follow and we will be informed later, probably after Christmas because of the holiday.

December 20 - That evening Mickey had a turn for the worse and had to be re-admitted to St. Francis for 1 day and further tests. 

Waiting and waiting - Christmas, and my 77th Birthday, and we are trying to have a 1/2 way normal Holiday time, but none of us are really feeling it.  We tie ourselves literally to the hem of His garment and we hang on with everything we have.  The children and I have decided we are not going to say anything to Mickey until after the Holiday since we don't know anything affirmative.  

DECEMBER 23 - The BEST possible Christmas gift we could ever receive ---NO CANCER in the beast bone - it has not spread past the lump in the lung.  All is GO full steam ahead.

Our joy, our exultation to our JESUS and GOD cannot be understood unless you have experienced something of this degree.  We are jubilant, we are beside ourselves.  Our God is faithful to His word and our assurance is solid.  

Over the 1st, of 2 hurdles, and full-steam ahead. Lung Surgery and TAVR coming in 2015.  Part II of - What? ------- A YEAR!!!!!! to be continued.....


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