Saturday, February 27, 2010


Okay, so this has been a busy week for me and I'm very tired. I don't need another one like it for at least a couple of more weeks! That's probably about how long it will take for me to see about other issues discovered this week!

My week actually began last week when I had a preliminary procedure to size up my prostate problem. The actual corrective procedure began at 1PM Tuesday. The short acronym for the procedure is TUNA, which stands for "Transurethral Needle Ablation".

It is a procedure used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). It is performed by placing interstitial radio frequency (RF) needles through the urethra and into the lateral lobes of the prostate, causing heat-induced coagulation necrosis. The tissue is heated to 110°C at an RF power of 456 kHz for approximately 3 minutes per lesion. In my case there were 7 points that were heated.

The idea is the prostate tissue will die away, leaving a space that allows the urethra to expand into, therefore increasing urine flow.

So, that amounted to 4 injections into the sides the prostate, done rectally, and then 7 needle heating treatments into the prostate from inside the urethra (up the penis)! Then there was an antibiotic show in the butt for good measure!

The worst part of the whole deal was that it's necessary to wear a catheter for two days. I hated that more than anything.

One must disregard all modesty while undergoing the preliminary testing an measurement, the actual TUNA procedure, and even coming in 2 days later to have a nurse remove the catheter. There is no dignity left and you really don't want to be wild and free again.

All this could have possibly been avoided had my body tolerated Flomax or Uroxatal, but those drugs dropped my blood pressure and cause all kind of gastric problems. Therefore, I endured all the above humiliation in order to lower my PSA numbers and to put an end to frequent urination issues.

All in all it's worth it...I'm already reaping the benefits for a younger prostate size.

So, that all ended on Thursday with the catheter removal.

Then on Friday, I got up early and at a light breakfast and too my normal medications for the day. That included an antibiotic to help heal the prostate and urethra from the procedure on Tuesday. That big pill set off a chain of events. I began to have heartburn between my male boob area. I got my allergy shot in Oak Ridge at 10, then came back to my care and took a sip of water. It didn't want to go down.

I have had this esophagus spam problem for almost 20 years so I knew what was happening. I began to hiccup, and so I took another small sip, all the while saliva began pouring down my throat. At the point of the heartburn, all this liquid began accumulating and moving up toward my windpipe. I told Judy to pull over and I through up that's all clear, no stomach contents evident...ever.

Usually after that I can again sip water and it will go down. However, it did not go down, but began another round of liquid accumulation. We had to stop again about half a mile down the road.
I finally made it the 10 miles to my mom's and got out and ran to the edge of the yard.

Inside, I repeatedly tried water in small sips, but after about 10 episodes, I knew I needed help.
Judy took me to the Harriman emergency room since no of my normal doctors were in town. Luckily my friend Terry Bingham was on surgical duty that day.

I enter the emergency room at 2PM. By 3PM I was taken back to a room where I sat until about 4:30. By then I felt better and was in no pain.

Dr. Bingham came in around 5:30 and gave me the once over. He said I think we need to do a esophageal dilation on Monday.

He asked me to eat a cracker and down a cup of water. I thought I was okay, since I hadn't had to put my finger down my throat since 3. However, the cracker stuck and sips of water finally slowly moved it around something, probably the hiatal bulge that can be seen in the photo. I watched as I struggled and then turn to my nurse and said, "We'll go ahead and do it tonight!"I really appreciated it, knowing that he had been there working all day. However, he's a good guy and a good surgeon.

In the actual photo above you can see my esphogus opening. The Doc said it was only about the size of his little finger. After the balloon passed (photo on right) the opening is greatly increased. However, it's this area that needs to be repaired by surgery.

At about 8PM I got to the operating room, was sedated and back in a room by 9PM. Everyone enjoyed my withdrawal from the anesthesia and wanted to keep me over night to entertain them, but I was determined to go home.

I was born at home and have never spent a night in the hospital. That will remain my goal for as long as I can remain conscious!

I'm eating well now, but have to discuss a hiatal operation soon that may correct this life long problem. I think it will be a small price to pay.

I have long been embarrassed over the condition, especially when eating's time to end it. If you have spent any time with me you have seen me either regurgitate or leave the table quickly and seek out the nearest restroom.

Further, I have now been advised that my EKG indicated an arrhythmia and SVTs...which means I may have had a small heart attack sometime in the past. Therefore, I need to have that attended too soon.

UPDATE: No heart problems were found, so I scheduled my hernia surgery for March 30th! Wish me well.

I've concluded that retirement is for ensuring you have plenty of time to make doctor appointments, travel, and see grand babies! More the former than anything else it seems.

With your prayers and thoughts, I'll make it until my next appointments!


Always Smiling said...

I hate that you have had to go through all of that. At least it made for a good blog post, right? j/k Hope everything gets straightened out soon.

DeeDee said...

Had no idea it had been this bad. I used to work for a group of Gastroenterologist and have seen and heard about everything from the neck down to the rear-end. I know that some of these procedures are not fun and you do lose your modesty with them, as well as a Urologist. I hope you are on the mend now and you get your heart checked out soon. God bless and you are in our prayers.

pogo said...

Paul, this is Mark, Wades friend. I'm sorry you're having all these problems dude! I too, have a hiatal hernia and have experienced the symptoms you describe. Mine can be downright painful at times when the food or particularly ice cold water gets stuck at the constriction.
I've also gone through radio frequency ablation many times to burn out/kill the nerves alongside my spine. Not a pleasant experience.
I wish you rest, and freedom from pain my friend.

Mushy said...

Thank you new commenters! I always try to "Keep on Smiling" too, wish you had a blog so I could follow it too. Thanks.

DeeDee...I'm honored and miss seeing you in person.

Mark...sorry for all your health issues too. We'll make it in the end, so please continue to come back.

Love you all!

FHB said...

Well, I hope everything turns out the way you want. My dad went through all this when I was in high school. He went in and they operated on him and he was good from then on. I'm sure the surgery has gotten much more regular since the 70s.

Scott from Oregon said...


Maybe you should have had them just keep shoving that tube down yer throat until it came out yer urethra?

BRUNO said...

Welcome to the land of arrhythmia's, and SVT's! Take care of them, as scheduled. It may keep a possible stroke from ever happening.(Don't ignore it, like I did.)

Heart-arrhythmia's are becoming more easily managed, with every passing day now. It may take a while to get just the right level of meds---especially the Digoxin---but you'll notice improvement sooner than later, when you hit the "sweet-spot" of the proper dosage! And, if the ORAL-meds don't do it, there's always the option of a pacemaker, to accomplish the same thing. And even THAT'S not much of a proceedure anymore, with the latest laproscopic methods, OR, even "robotic-surgery": A few slits, a half-dozen gouges, an' yer "good-to-go"!

And, YEAH, that's about all I get from MY "retirement", too! So I guess it's the "get-in-line"-routine for us both!

I'll pray for ya'---but THIS time, I'm NOT gettin' down on bended knees to do it.

Last time, it took a 3-foot prybar, an' an engine-hoist to get me back "on the tracks"...!!!☺

Mushy said...

Well, I just returned from my family doctor and she seems to think what is showing up has been there for years and is sort of normal for me.

However, she's gathering all the heart records and test from the past to go over them and make sure they were there years ago. If not, then we'll work from there.

She said go ahead with the esophageal surgery...not that invasive.

Mushy said...

Well, I just returned from my family doctor and she seems to think what is showing up has been there for years and is sort of normal for me.

However, she's gathering all the heart records and test from the past to go over them and make sure they were there years ago. If not, then we'll work from there.

She said go ahead with the esophageal surgery...not that invasive.

Shrinky said...

Oh Paul, you really have been through the grist as of late, I am so sorry to hear of all the troubles you've endured. Bad enough to still be recovering from one unpleasant proceedure, without having to be whipped in for yet another surgery. I'm glad to see your usual humour hasn't left you, and I am sending as many warm and healing thoughts as possible your way, for a full and fast recovery. Reckon you are about due a break, my friend, let's hope that's the end now of this horrible patch in your life. Take care, hon (x).