Just A Short Update…

First, I’d like to thank those who are always praying for me. Then, I’d want you to know that back procedure wasn’t my first…and would not have been my last.

The back procedure had to be postponed. Last Sunday I realized I was experiencing what’s called “aspiration pneumonia”. In my situation, the contents of my stomach (acid & food contents) creep back up my esophagus as I sleep. In December 2019, I underwent a surgical procedure on my stomach to prevent this from happening. However, the sutures holding it all in place have broken loose…and thus I have all the acid reflux (GERD) and stomach contents backing up again. I’ll be having that repaired next month I expect.

I’m on antibiotics for the aspiration pneumonia…and they seem to be working. I’ve had to double-down on the Albuterol nebulizer (I despise that thing as the steroids mess with you both mentally & physically). The albuterol helps open up my lungs…reduce wheezing & phlegm build-up.

If I’m “not” completely cleared up by January 2nd/3rd…my local pulmonologist has agreed (something I requested) to perform a bronchoscopy. My doc sends a camera & other tools up my nose…down the back of my throat…and into my lungs. At this point he can have a look around for anything of substantial size and retrieve it. I’m quite sure he would use the opportunity to grab a small sample of my lung tissue for examination by a pathologist (looking for any other signs of rejection I’m not already experiencing. Essentially…it’s calling in “Roto-Rooter” for my lungs.

As I’m improving on the antibiotics, I really don’t expect the bronchoscopy to happen. I will however be seeing the gastroenterologist here soon. He’ll do a similar procedure…but takes the camera & tools down my esophagus and into my stomach checking out the situation.

That’s all for now. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.


Tales From A T-Shirt Collector

In about 6 hours I’ll go under anesthesia again…I can’t offer an accurate count due my lack of keeping count. Around 7:10am, I’m scheduled to undergo what’s called a “Medial Branch Block” or “MBB”. I’ll receive a cocktail of anesthesia drugs injected into the nerves running down my spine to the left and right of the spinal cord. These nerves are the ones that provide the sensation in your spine. For example, if you were lifting a 50 lb. bag of dog food…those nerves would tell you to put it down if the weight was too much to handle.

In my situation, the MBB procedure is just a phase of injections to determine if the locations offer a short period of pain relief along the injection sites. If the MBB injections prove effective…the next phase is called “Radio Frequency Ablation” or “RFA”. The same nerve locations from the MBB will now be heated (well…cooked) in order to prevent pain signals in the target areas from ever reaching the brain.

The MBB/RFA procedures must be repeated about every six months…as the nerves heal and the pain sensation returns.

Today, my new pain management doctor (more on that story later) will be injecting the nerves between levels L3 (lumbar) down to S1 (sacral). If the MBB is successful…sometime between 10~14 days later I’ll go back for the RFA procedure.

All of this work is performed using a fluoroscope…kind of like a real-time X-ray. From the time I walk in the door…until I’m wheeled out to our vehicle…an hour has typically ticked along on the clock.

I’m given a little lidocaine and Propofal via IV for a little nap while I’m having needles stuck into my spine. That part I appreciate dearly. I can’t imagine being able to remain still if I was conscious.

My thoughts are on the blessings I have access to this level of medicine. I’m a very blessed man and husband. If not for the incredible amount of work my wife performs…this incredible pain relief mechanism would never exist. I thank you Heather and my God for these blessings.