My friends convinced me that creating a blog is the best way to keep interested people updated about my current health situation so here we go. I have never done this before so bear with me.
Current Health Situation: I was not feeling great most of the summer but chalked it up to being overweight and rundown from a difficult but interesting year of changes at IBR and for me and my friends. Anyway, there were some signs of problems in August but around Sept. 1st I found that I was having trouble breathing one morning so I went to the emergency room. Long story short, they took a large amount of fluid out of my left lung and plural cavity. They sent me home saying I had phenomia and pleurisy. The next morning I found that my breathing was even worse. I went back to the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital.
All the tests revealed no infection and most of my organs were functioning perfectly. However, my heart was enlarged and that was what kept me in the hospital in ICU. I was soon diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis – slow deterioration of the aortic valve. Over the next few months and many tests later I learned that I will have to have a valve replacement but that was put on hold due to another problem.
My real complaint was that I had a chronic dry cough and the feeling that I was coming down with something all the time. All the time! My body continued to ache daily as if I were getting sick and I continue to take pain medication for it. No one could figure out what the problem was and I went from doctor to doctor about it. I kept saying that my lungs felt like they were trying to expel something but to this day very little has come up. It’s a dry and painful cough.
So, fast forward to Christmas. By now I am having some trouble breathing and getting winded easily. I noticed that I was becoming more weak and still no diagnosis. I lost about 35 lbs by Christmas which actually helped since I wasn’t carrying around all that extra weight. But, my best friend, Mark, insisted that I stay in San Francisco and go to UCSF Medical Center – one of the best hospitals in the world – because I could barely walk through the airport due to weakness and shortness of breath.
There have been lots of tests and maneuvering through the hospital system over the last month. Fluid from my plural cavity area ruled out everything from fungal growth to bird diseases but confirmed that I have kidney cancer that has now metastasized to my lungs. Not what I expected to say the least. I am now meeting with an oncologist to find out what treatment options are available. This is frustrating to say the least but I am glad that at least I know what it is so I can plan accordingly.
I am aware that I sound very casual about this. It’s just because I have been dealing with this for so long and because I have become comfortable with death and all that surrounds it . Nothing is a shock to me at this point. I want you all to know that I am in a pretty good emotional and mental place and am taking this a day at a time. I am in the best location that I can be with Mark, Russ and especially my God Daughter, Elizabeth, and 2 dogs that are full time companions. My family is fairly close by so if I need them they are available.
I know there is a lot of concern about me and I really appreciate it. I hope this blog will help facilitate communication between us.
So, as of today, January 20th, 2014 I am in good place in my head and grateful for the people who love me. The pain is manageable at this point and later this week I should have an idea of how I will proceed.
Much love, Jay