Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Spring has sprung here, with a little setback expected over the weekend when the nighttime temps are expected to dip to the mid-30's again. However, we have been having 70 to 80 degree days with loads of sunshine. It's all brought the hills alive with tiny green leaves accenting the views around Harriman.

But I'm a little leery of spring, having some health setbacks over the past 3 years that seem to begin with the spring warmth.

Just like last spring, after falling and breaking 4 ribs, this spring has been a long season for me.

This spring began by having to have what's called the TUNA procedure, which stands for "Transurethral Needle Ablation", on my prostate. This procedure is performed by placing interstitial radio frequency (RF) needles through the urethra (yelp, right up there) 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.

Thankfully, that procedure worked to textbook perfection and I am now enjoying the benefits of a younger prostate - no sense of urgency, no getting up multiple times at night, and no pain or straining.

The day after the final checkup of that procedure, I had an esophageal spasm and had to go to the ER for an emergency dilation! I have had this spasm problem for almost 20 years, and have had a dozen or more dilation procedures during that time.

After this episode, the doctor suggest I have the Nissen Fundoplication surgery.

During fundoplication surgery, the upper curve of the stomach (the fundus) is wrapped around the esophagus and sewn into place so that the lower portion of the esophagus passes through a small tunnel of stomach muscle. This surgery strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach (lower esophageal sphincter), which stops acid from backing up into the esophagus as easily. This allows the esophagus to heal. This procedure is often done using a laparoscopic surgical technique these days.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for was the excruciating pain that follows the laparoscopic surgery for at least 3 days! I tell you truthfully, I cried out several times over the next 2 days for God's help...either way...let me die or make it stop! The CO2 that's used to pump up the body cavity for that surgery slowly seeks a way out of the body and it's usually, as in my case, tries to leave through the points of the shoulders and the right rib cage! The left shoulder was probably the worst effected area, with the tiny point on my shoulder screaming for an ice-pick to make an escape hole!

It reminded me the time I was nearly pushed to the point, during a gout attack on my left big-toe, of chopping it off. I swear it would have hurt much less!

However, I'm happy to report that the stomach wrap procedure was also done to textbook perfection and I'm nearly back to my old strength. I had the stitches out today and the little holes (seen attached before stitch removal) have healed well.

So, with all this, plus the weekly visits to an allergist for shots to desensitize me against mold, it's been one slow spring. However, I have yet to be throttled by a pneumonia episode since beginning them last summer. Last year, I had pneumonia three times!

I would imagine my insurance company has had to pay well over $20K for all these visits, follow ups, procedures, and shots! I'm hoping I get all this out of the way before reaching 65.

So, the weather has been nice, up to 85 Tuesday, when Judy and I took to the East Tennessee trails once again. We put in a little over 2 miles, and saw some of the most spectacular views East Tennessee has to offer. These views are within a 25 mile drive of our home too!

I have written about, at least on my Princess Theater blog, the Obed Wild and Scenic River Valley. However, I knew then that I would have to take Judy back up there to see it. She loves to be taken on adventures, to do a little walking, to take photos, and explore the countryside. This trip was no exception, she loved the Lilly Access area on Clear Creek in Morgan County, Tennessee, and the Nemo Access further done the Obed Valley where the Emory River begins.

Like I said, we did quite a bit of walking, especially for someone that had surgery just a week earlier!

If you had scenery this beautiful, this close to your front door, how often would you go?

We have identified about a half dozen such places since we've retired, and we try to get around to all of them at least once a year.

There's a big weekend planned in Harriman, a production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the college, and the first of the summer's downtown "Crusin's" is scheduled. I think our plans are to attend both events and enjoy the spring air while it's still relatively cool outside.

So, get out there...find something to do my friends. Life is short, so never put things off until another day. Those plans might be interrupted by a funeral!

I took a lot of photos of the Obed Valley, if you would like to view them, CLICK HERE!


*Goddess* said...

What happens to us? It seems like one minute we're young and healthy and the next, getting out of bed the wrong way can cause physical injury...oy!

Hope you're back to feeling 100% again soon:)

Mushy said...

Well, hiddy! Good to hear from you.

Oh, I'm on the mend...looking forward to my next adventure.

Hope you and yours are well.

FHB said...

That's a great post. Lots of good news for the folks that love ya. Been lovin' the latest pictures (was gonna say shots, but not in this context). Keep it up brother.

BRUNO said...

My head hurts, my throat is sore, and I'm in a generally-BAD mood. The first two, I blame on the trees and "others" doin' their seasonal "sexual-relations". The third? That's just ME, being me!

Amazing the surgeries they can do with the laproscopic-method, especially with the progress being made in the last five-years alone.

Wonder why they can't "tap"-you, like a well-head, to give that gas a way to escape? That'd be a literal nightmare, if it decides to exit the LEFT-side, closer to the heart...

*Goddess* said...

BTW, with all these procedures you're having lately, one can only assume you have a really, hott sexy doctor you enjoy spending time with. If not, my sympathies:)

Mushy said...

I do have a great female family doctor...known her since high school. However, I'd rather see her annually for medical purposes.

I have lost 13 pounds!

Debbie said...

Congratulations on the anniversary. Hubby and I have been married 37 years, 38 in September. If give the opportunity we too would do it all over again.

Not too many people can say that.

Congratulations on both your surgeries, but they both sound painful.

The food looks delicious, and like you I would order the sampler plate.

Right Truth