The room is quiet as I sit down to write this post. Stephie’s silence is yet another indication that I am nearly recovered from my lung biopsy a month ago. During my pulmo appointment this week, I was able to walk 150 feet on room air before my pulse ox dropped below 90%. And even though my sats dipped to 85, a minute of deep breathing quickly brought me back up to to 91 and the all-important “green zone.”
What this means is that I am no longer tethered to Stephie while at home. I can roam freely throughout the house under my own lung power! Of course, this also means I can now reach the washer and dryer unimpeded, so I guess laundry moves back over to my chore column. Bummer. But the joy of winding up that 70-ft. cannula more than makes up for it!
I still wear the cannula to bed, and take my pony bottles with me when I go out just in case I have to walk further than 150 ft. And I will probably always use oxygen when I exercise. But I am finally starting to feel “normal” again. In fact, other than a little residual numbness on torso that will go away eventually, I’d say I’m pretty much back to my old self. Wait. That’s not true. I’ll never be my “old self” again. Things are different now. I am different. But in many ways I feel stronger than I have in many years — stronger emotionally, stronger mentally and even stronger physically. The wracking cough is under control. I’m eating better, treating my body with the respect it deserves, and I have a focus and clarity I haven’t felt for a very long time.
Monday I return to work. I’m eager to see my friends and coworkers again and ready to get back to business. I have to admit though, I’m a little nervous — nervous about how the new me fits into this final piece of the “normal” puzzle. I’ll know soon enough.
UPDATE — My AFB is MAC
More news from my appointment last week — the lab identified the AFB they cultured from my lung. It’s actually MAC (mycobacterium avium complex). My kids laughed when they heard the name of the bacteria. Our dog’s name is Mac (that’s him pictured above). He fancies himself a parrot and frequently perches his furry bum on my shoulder when I sit on the sofa. They thought perhaps I’d been exposed to a bit too much of Mac’s business end over the years. They may not be far off. MAC bacteria are actually quite common in the environment, but usually only infect people with compromised immune systems or underlying lung disease. The usual treatment is a year-long course of Zithromax or a combo Zithromax and Biaxcyn.
I see an infectious disease specialist next week for a consult. Dr. Potts isn’t sure if I have a MAC infection, of if I’m just colonized with MAC (creepy, I know). And the decision to treat isn’t a given. I promised him I’d keep his life interesting and so far I’m living up to my word!
I’ve also dropped, 10 pounds which puts me 1/8 of the way to my goal. At this point, I’m simply focused on eating fresh food with lots of greens, lean protein and whole grains.