Early 2020 was a fantastic season. I was full of energy and got lots accomplished. As we entered Lent things took a different turn. Where to begin?
The Past Months
In mid-February started having trouble keeping food down and my food intake dropped significantly. I would not quite call it a fad diet, but I have managed to drop over twenty unwanted pounds. Many dieticians have met with me. Each one is concerned with my current weight drop. As I explain the history, the fact that the steroids from my treatment led me to put on over fifty pounds, their concern lessens. Our conversations usually end when I give them my “target weight” and commit to trying to eat but confess I will not become anxious about the situation until we drop below said target weight.
The Straight Facts
March 10th my symptoms became so severe I had Nancy drive me to the ER at 1 am. The upside was there was no traffic and the ER was basically empty, four people in the waiting room. I was seen quickly and admitted even faster. This visit we treated symptoms and once I felt better they released me home. It was a mistake.
March 17th was a normal visit with Dr. Schneider. I was not with him long before it was determined that I would be a “direct admit” into the hospital. My symptoms had returned and were worse than before.
Thus began a large number of tests. The most significant finding was that my liver enzymes and bilirubin numbers were out of wack. Like extremely out of wack. As with every step on this journey I have learned much. For example, your liver creates bilirubin and needs to get rid of it through the liver into the intestines. Bilirubin is that magical substance that gives color to our poop. Elevated bilirubin numbers mean that your body is not processing that waste effectively.
The concern quickly became liver damage. There were multiple schools of thought on the cause. The hospital doctors believed it was caused by the chemotherapy I was receiving via my pump. Dr. Schneider (my oncologist) did not believe that was the case. All those numbers had been within acceptable ranges (we track them on a regular basis) and then suddenly jumped. Dr. Schneider was of the opinion that something else was going on.
Options ranged from a virus to damage caused by the chemotherapy, with a few other ideas in between. Soon different medical teams were taking sides and pushing for their opinion. [Read more…]