Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pulmonary Appointment

Today my father saw a pulmonologist at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Walnut Creek, California. Of interest is a prolonged “body of tissue” on the upper right side of his trachea. This is the major area of concern with regards to the cancer.

The issue is whether the tissue is a lymphoma or a malignancy. In the case of the former, treatment is simple: a series of pills that rapidly shrink such tumors “almost as fast as they grew.” However, if it is a malignancy, then treatment will consist of chemotherapy, probably followed by a course of radiotherapy. Tomorrow he will be sedated and examined using a bronchoscope and, presumably, a tissue sample will be taken for biopsy.

After further examination, the jury is still out concerning the spots in his lungs and the presumed metasticization to his bone; some or all of the musculo-skeletal pain he is experiencing could be due to age-related calcium loss. He will be given a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan probably on Friday, November 16th, to examine his bone density. A separate biopsy of his lungs is to be performed next Tuesday (November 21st). Possibly causes for the lung spots include damage from smoking and also several bouts of childhood pneumonia.

Both my father and mother tell me they like and are confident in the physicians caring for him. Given the incredibly high standards for which each of my parents are known, these assessments amount to high praise.

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