Thursday, July 30, 2015

Life Goes On

If you follow this blog you're familiar with most of my health problems. I’ve complained about them often enough. One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned is that I have chronic venous insufficiency. The tiny little valves in my veins don’t work as well as they should. They cause some of my blood to pool in my legs instead of returning to my heart. It’s aggravated by the fact that I’m pretty sedentary. The pooled blood seeps out of the veins and the iron in the hemoglobin stains the skin of my legs dark red. It’s called called venous staining. It also makes the skin scaly, itchy, dry and fragile. A lot of folks have never heard of it and I often get stares when I wear shorts. The picture above isn’t my legs, but it’s a pretty close approximation of what they look like. Sort of like I've been stomping grapes and forgot to wash my feet.

My other health problems just compound the problem. The cancer medicine I’ve been taking slows the healing process. The blood thinner I’m on slows the healing process. My diabetes slows the healing process. I guess you get the point. When I have a cut or a wound, it doesn’t heal nearly as fast as normal people. I also have some diabetic nerve damage below my knees, so I don’t feel a lot down there except a constant tingling like my feet are asleep. 

When I noticed a strange feeling on the back of my right leg about six weeks ago, I got a mirror to take a look. Surprise! I had a nasty looking ulcer on my leg about the size of an egg. Not a pretty sight. Trust me when I say you don’t want to see a picture of it. So I hustled myself into the local wound treatment center to get it checked out. They cleaned the wound and put a dressing on it along with some compression hose on both legs. The next week when they peeled the hose off, the hose on my left leg (not the leg with the wound), stuck to my skin and peeled off the top layer of skin creating a second wound. Now I had wounds on BOTH legs. It’s six weeks later and both wounds are healing very slowly.

In other news, I had a CT scan this past Tuesday and got the results back this afternoon. The bad news is that the cancer continues to grow in my right lung. It’s now about 4 times larger than it was when they first discovered it. There was a little bit of good news; some enlarged lymph nodes they were concerned about haven’t changed any and the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of my body. But the medicine that caused the mass to shrink significantly at first appears to have become ineffective against the cancer.

Doctor Whoosh is concerned about my leg wounds, and since the oral medicine I’ve been taking impedes the healing process, he took me off it and wants me to go cold turkey for five weeks to see if the wounds heal any faster. After that he’s planning to put me on a different medicine to see how that goes. The new one is intravenous, which means a four hour drive every two weeks to get the treatment. I’m not looking forward to that, particularly if it stretches into the winter months.

I also went in and had a hearing evaluation about three weeks ago. As I suspected, I have moderate hearing loss in the higher frequencies in both ears. My wife will confirm that. She's tired of me asking her to repeat herself all the time. I need hearing aids for both ears. My health insurance won't cover a dime. She's going to have to put up with me saying "What?" for a while longer.

Other than that, I feel okay. No new aches or pains. I'm just gradually getting a little slower as time passes. Since it appears that I'll be reaching the end of my road a little sooner than I expected a few years back, my wife and I have been busy putting our affairs in order. Last wills and various other end of life documents are now taken care of and we're trying to corral our various financial obligations as best as we can. Depressing stuff, but it needs to be dealt with now rather than when it's too late.

Life goes on. At least for the time being.

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