Friday, October 16, 2015

Mick McKellar Update -- Day +1698

October 16, 2015—A Fruitful Journey

First, we are home—and I drove the entire way! Woohoo! We saw only a few flakes out by Winona, onM26—otherwise we had sunshine with clouds and dry roads all the way home. Even our 2009 Focus cooperated and achieved 37.5 mpg average mileage for the trip as a whole. This was remarkable considering we were buffeted by a substantial headwind from Red Wing, MN, to around Hayward, WI.

Second, I had a good checkup at Mayo Clinic. When we arrived on Wednesday, we walked from Founder’s House to Canadian Honker Restaurant (a good half-mile) and back. On Thursday, we walked to and from the Charlton Building and Gonda Building for my tests and consults. I also went shopping with Marian—now that’s a marathon!

The blood tests all fell within normal ranges for healthy folk, which was very encouraging. Most of my pulmonary function study scores were actually higher than last visit, which likely means that my lung function has stayed stable. I already know it cannot improve because bronchiolitis obliterans causes lung tissue to become fibroid and non-functional (a one-way, irreversible process) so, no change is the best I could expect. 

However, during the oxygen stress test (climb a stair, up and down for three minutes), I did manage to set off their low oxygen alert. Usually, get tested on a single height stair, this time it was a double height stair and the extra stress caused a sudden drop in my oxygen (below 85%) after 2.5 minutes. This means that I qualify for medically-necessary supplemental oxygen. However, once again, I declined. I refuse to use that crutch, though it might make me a bit more comfortable. I manage quite nicely by walking slowly and resting when my internal censors tell my oxygen level is low. I guess something good came from being an asthmatic child -- I know what it feels like when my oxygen level drops.

Goodbye Cellcept!

He said it! Marian heard it, and it’s true! My doctor said, “You can stop the Cellcept now. Don’t take another pill.” Cellcept is my anti-rejection medication and is the pill that supports my immune suppression. As this wears off, my own immune system should kick in. Also, as soon as my supply runs out, I can stop my Fluconazole -- an anti-fungal medication. In three months, I can also stop my Atovaquone (Mepron) -- the evil yellow suspension that protects me from a particular form of pneumonia to which some transplantees are susceptible. I am so looking forward to stopping my daily dose of yellow road paint. Yuck.

We celebrated by going to an early dinner at Olive Garden, Marian’s favorite restaurant. Then I took Marian shopping. We looked at everything. We bought nothing...except a couple of bags of Halloween candy. If she can spend endless hours in waiting rooms, I can endure a few hours of window shopping.

Back to the Hermitage

Very soon now, I will resume my hermit persona, and stop attending gatherings where more than a very few people come together. This self-withdrawal from gatherings has served me well in preventing exposure to flu and colds and other infections.

It was an encouraging and successful trip. We don’t have to return until next May, when they will once again sample my bone marrow. If things look really good in May, they might stop my anti-cancer medication! THAT would be truly marvelous!

Thanks for all the prayers and good thoughts. It really matters and helps immensely! Good evening and God bless!