Monday, January 12, 2009

Big leap forward

Wasn't that long ago I was lamenting at the glacial pace of my providers in getting to the bottom of my medical problems.

Now, I can barely keep up with the new developments in my Curious Case, which give Benjamin Button's a run for the money.

Last week ended with a volley of e-mails between me and Dr. Birusingh, the head and neck surgeon at Kaiser, and getting an appointment to see Dr. Birusingh first thing Monday morning to discuss having a biopsy early this week.

In today's visit, Dr. Birusingh examined my tongue and mouth and throat again, and showed me images from the Jan. 2 MRI as well as last week's CT scan.

The images clearly showed why it's important to move quickly on my case. They depicted how my enlarged tongue is restricting my airway. I don't currently have trouble breathing but a close look at the scans of my throat were enough to take my breath away.

On Wednesday morning, I will have a biopsy, as I expected. But preceding that procedure, Dr. Birusingh will do a tracheotomy. His concern is that the biopsy will cause my tongue to swell even further, and close up my airway.

The tracheotomy means that I will be adding yet another tube to my growing ensemble, but it will also provide a means for me to breathe.

I'll be hospitalized three days, Dr. Birusingh said. After the surgery I will be moved to ICU, and then to a regular hospital room.

Much of today was spent taking care of pre-op procedures: having an EKG, getting my jaw X-rayed, having blood drawn, meeting with the anesthesiologist, signing papers and taking care of the other steps associated with a hospital stay.

The day or so between now and when I go to the hospital will be consumed with wrapping up some projects at the office and trying to avoid worrying about what lies ahead.

Dr. Birusingh told me to expect to wait five to 14 days before I learn about the outcome of the biopsy. I'm not going to dwell on the range of outcomes; I'll just roll with those punches wherever they land.

It won't be possible for me to sustain this blog while I am in the hospital, so this may be my last post till the weekend. I hope that I'll have good news to relate when I resume posting.

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