Monday, October 27, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
We met with his doctor at Loma Linda University Medical Center today. He does not have cancer but if the Barrett's syndrom isn't treated, he could have within a year or so. The cause of the Barrett's is excess stomach acid in the esphogus. His condition is complicated by the hiatial hernia so the doctor feels that surgery is absolutely necessary to prevent the Barrett's from getting worse.
After checking the calendar, Dennis decided to have the surgery on Friday, November 7. The hospitalization will be 3 to 7 days depending on how well he does. The recovery is 8 - 12 weeks. No driving for 2 weeks after the surgery and no lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds for a month or more. He will have to eat pureed food for a while. Yummy. LOL I told him Thanksgiving dinner will be mashed potatoes, yams and turkey out of a blender. We hope he is able to have a normal meal by then.
His doctor is highly qualifed to perform the surgery. He has studied under the best gastric surgeon in the country and he now teaches the procedure to students at Loma Linda University Medical School. The surgery is performed laproscopically (sp) ~ Five 1" incisions instead of having his chest opened. It's amazing what they can do these days. A lot less pain and a shorter recovery. We laughed on the way home as we talked about how nice it is to have Thee Best Doctor In the World (if you don't believe us, just ask the Dr.). We know Dennis is in good hands.
All prayers and positive thoughts are appreciated!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Barrett's esophagus is a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged. The damage is caused by stomach acid that leaks back into the esophagus. This leakage of acid is commonly known as "heartburn" (gastroesophageal reflux)....
Barrett's esophagus itself does not cause symptoms. The acid reflux that causes Barrett's esophagus results in symptoms of heartburn. Rarely, Barrett's esophagus can progress to cancer of the esophagus, the symptoms of which may be difficulty swallowing or weight loss.
Irritation of the lining of the esophagus by stomach acid causes Barrett esophagus . It happens more frequently in men than women. Risk factors are frequent and long-standing gastroesophageal reflux. The condition carries an increased risk of cancer of the esophagus .
Barrett esophagus itself does not cause symptoms. The acid reflux that causes Barrett esophagus results in symptoms of heartburn . Rarely, Barrett esophagus can progress to cancer of the esophagus, the symptoms of which may be difficulty swallowing or weight loss.
Exams and Tests
Looking at the esophagus with an endoscope and obtaining a sample of esophagus tissue for examination (esophagoscopy with biopsy ) may reveal Barrett esophagus . A barium x-ray will not show the flat changes of Barrett esophagus.
Treatment includes general measures to control gastroesophageal reflux, medications, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and surgery. Treatment may be important even if the patient doesn't feel any symptoms.
General measures include:
Avoiding lying down after meals
Sleeping with the head of the bed elevated
Taking medication with plenty of water
Avoiding dietary fat , chocolate, caffeine, and peppermint because they may cause lower esophageal pressure
Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
Medications to relieve symptoms and control gastroesophageal reflux include antacids after meals and at bedtime, histamine H2 receptor blockers, proton pump inhibitors, cholinergic agents, and promotility agents.
Surgery to remove a portion of the esophagus may be recommended, if a biopsy shows the type of cellular changes that tend to lead to cancer (these changes are called dysplasia).
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a newly approved option that may allow you to avoid surgery. PDT involves the use of a special laser device, called an esophageal balloon, along with a drug called Photofrin. Together, the laser balloon and medication lead to destruction of the abnormal cells lining the esophagus, without affecting the normal tissue.
An increased risk of esophageal cancer is present. Follow-up endoscopy to look for dysplasia or cancer is often advised.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if heartburn persists for longer than a few days, or you have pain or difficulty swallowing .
Call your provider if symptoms worsen, do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop in a person with Barrett esophagus.
Diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux may prevent Barrett esophagus.
We are concerned, of course, but optimistic that it can be treated to prevent more serious complications down the road.
I'll write more after we find out what the other tests showed and find out what we can do about it. Dennis has no symptoms but the photos of his esophagus made us wonder why he wasn't experiencing heart burn. There are many spots that look like they should hurt.
It was so beautiful today. Cool, breezy and clear. It felt like Fall has arrived. We just hope it stays. We're tired of the heat.
Lots going on around here. When I have more time, I will write about it.
My big relief this week was finally getting all of my journals transferred to blogspot. This is the only one I will be writing in but it's nice to know the others are safe from deletion.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I have to see the dermatologist every 4 to 6 weeks to have the site injected with Kenalog10 which is a steroid. The spot should go away with treatment but it would come back without the steroid injections.
I am relieved that it's nothing serious and requires no surgery. I do hope the doctor is right about it going away. I think it looks terrible.
Thanks for your love and concern while I waited for the results.
I went on WebMD and found the following article about it.
Granuloma annulare is a chronic skin condition that consists of a circular-shaped rash with reddish bumps (papules).
Most often, the condition affects children and young adults. Granuloma annulare is slightly more common in girls and usually is seen in people who are otherwise healthy.
What Causes Granuloma Annulare?
The cause is unknown, but sometimes granuloma annulare may be associated with diabetes or thyroid disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Granuloma Annulare?
People who have granuloma annulare usually notice a ring of small, firm bumps over the backs of the forearms, hands or feet. More than one ring may be noticed in some cases. The rash may be mildly itchy.
How Is Granuloma Annulare Diagnosed?
The condition is diagnosed by a doctor who may use a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
How Is Granuloma Annulare Treated?
Treatment often is not necessary, except for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, creams or ointments are used to help the bumps disappear. Some doctors may decide to freeze the lesions with liquid nitrogen or to inject steroids directly into the rings of bumps. Ultraviolet light therapy or oral medications can be used in severe cases.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Instead of saving my journals to the computer, I thought I would print them. I thought after they were printed out I would take them to Staples and have them spiral bound. It's not expensive to have that done.
Well, my first journal, Yada Yada Yada, has used up 2/3 of a package of printer paper and I'm only 3/4 through it. The good news is: It only took an hour and fifteen minutes.
I didn't realize I had written so much. As I flipped through the pages it brought back so many fun memories - especially about my grandchildren. I'm going to be glad I printed it. It's a record of my family for the past 3 years.
I'm so grateful that I kept up on my journaling. My memory isn't as good as it once was and I forget when certain things happened. Now I have a book I can refer to. If AOL hadn't decided to end J-Land, I never would have printed it out so I'm grateful tonight.