News From the Health Front

So, back from Duke and overall the news is good from the Lung Transplant Team at Duke Medical Center. Here are the highlights from this recent sojourn to Duke, with comments below:

1. No Acute Rejection detected in the bronchoscopy, as well as no Chronic – A0B0.
2. Blood work was good, white blood cell count is still hanging in there, a little low, but hanging in there.
3. X-ray was clear.
4. Pulmon Swallow test and Upper GI revealed that my Nissen Fundoplication had come loose, oops.

So, there is always more to the story than meets the eye, so here goes the minutia.

1. Just because the bronchoscopy shows no Acute Rejection doesn’t mean that Chronic Rejection isn’t possibly still present in the lungs. Acute Rejection, from what the docs have told me, is more widespread and thus, more easily detected in a bronchoscopy. Chronic Rejection, also from I’m told, can show up in places they don’t biopsy in a bronchoscopy. So basically, it can be hide-and-go-seek when it comes to finding Chronic Rejection in the lung tissue.

2. I started a regimen of Imuran (Azathioprine) 100mg daily about a week ago. That drug will mess with the ‘ol white blood cell count so, it’s bi-weekly labs for me to make sure I’m not more susceptible to airborne viruses or any other wonderful germs.

3. That’s about all there is to say for the X-ray. (Nice rhyme, huh?)

4. Acid reflux can be a big contributor to rejection of the lung tissue if you’re refluxing high enough, like to the Clavicle. The Barium Swallow/Upper GI study was ordered to see how things were in that department. In 2010, I had a Nissen Fundoplication procedure done which basically wraps the upper part of the stomach wall around the lower part of the Esophagus, in order to restrict acid flow back up the Esophagial path. This can also restrict food going down and can cause some swallowing issues. I’ve never experienced any discomfort from digesting food. But evidently, the wrap has come partially un-wrapped and they want to keep a close eye on it. Which might mean yet another lovely PH Probe is in my future, ugh.

If you are medical information nerd like me, here’s a link about the Nissen procedure:

That’s about it for now. I’ll be back at Duke in 6-8 weeks for another bronchoscopy. The Lung Transplant Team at Duke likes two bronchoscopies in a row that are clear of any rejection before they pronounce you rejection-free!

The Lord continues to guide on this health journey and I am grateful to be able to breathe for Him! Job 33:4

The Health Journey Continues

I’ll be heading to Duke Medical Center again this week, mainly for followup to the recent episodes of rejection following my 2008 double-lung transplant.  Rejection has been a common theme throughout my health journey.  Not sure if this is just another “bump in the road” or something more significant.  I never know until they have done all the testing, poking and prodding they do each time I visit.

Lately though, I have not been feeling great.  I know something is going on but not sure what.  I’ve been having issues I’ve never had before.  In early September I had the second of two Solumedrol infusions within less than two months of each other, and don’t think I’ve bounced back from those.  In case you don’t know, Solumedrol is an infusion (IV) of 1500mg of Prednisone spread out over three days.  (500mg per day)  It REALLY can affect you in some not so pleasant ways, although my body usually bounces back fairly quick.  Not so much this time.

So, off to Duke I go this week to what’s in store.  Each time I go, I’m reminded just how fragile this life I now live really is.  But I am grateful for the time the Lord has given me up to now.  Borrowed time that I didn’t deserve, yet God, in His mercy and grace, has allowed.

Grateful for this journey!