Jun 10, 2010

Cancer or Valley Fever...a diagnosis FINALLY!

  

Tucson from Suguaro National Park
    Link from earlier post:  Fatal Mistake When Choosing a Physician
      Valley Fever is one of those infections that can show up in an x-ray looking like a deadly  cancer growing in your lungs.  My husband should know.
Anatomy of the respiratory system, showing the...   










     He left Arizona sick and could not even drive for the last of the journey.  He should not have been driving at all but I am clueless and he did not complain.  We arrived back in Oregon on May 1.  That was a Saturday.  On the following Monday I took him to the doctor.  He had an xray that showed pneumonia.  It has been five weeks now.  After three doctors, 2 x-rays, a cat-scan and a bronchoscopy he finally has a dignosis.   Yesterday we received word that he indeed had a fungal infection and not the lung cancer that the Pulmonologist suspected.
    We had been in Arizona for 7 months living in our park model.  During that period of time my husband played golf several times a week...in bad weather or good.  This was a very wet winter with lots of wind.  It turns out these conditions are perfect for the spread of the Valley Fever fungus that lives in the soil of Arizona and California.   
   Did we learn anything from this experience?  Well yes, as a matter of fact we did. 
  • We learned that a good primary care physician is very important when you are older. 
  • We learned that it never hurts to learn as much as you can.  
  • We learned that, while doctors have their opinions, they will test for something because you have a strong suspicion about your illness.
  • We learned that one test for a condition may not be enough...the blood work came back negative for Valley Fever. 
  • We learned that, when you travel from one region to another, doctors are not necessarily well informed about illnesses common in another region.  
  • And last but not least....we learned that a bronchoscopy is not a fun procedure. Neither my husband or myself have ever smoked...after seeing the results of digging around in your lungs to find out if you have cancer, I am very grateful we did not add that to our health threatening habits. 
     My husband is now under the care of a specialist that will see him again in a month.  He is feeling much better and we can now go on with our lives.  He will not be taking any medications...anti-fungal medications are not good if the person can fight the infection off without them.  That medication is reserved for Aids sufferers or others with extremely weakened immune systems.   After five weeks of worry we are at least able to look into the future and see that there is one!
     Be well.  I just thought you needed to know.
b
   
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