(BTW - we ADORE Trudy ... his nurse :-)!!!)
Dr. Cochran came in and talked to us about how the body works ... Kidneys function.
The kidneys produce a hormone - Erythropoietin - that is sent to the bone marrow.
Bone marrow produces the red blood cells.
The lab reports were showing that Rick's kidneys were not producing the hormone, so the bone marrow was not able to produce the red blood cells as needed. Hence, the anemia.
Dr. Cochran talked to us about the shot - which is basically the hormone. However, he said that Rick's iron levels and iron stores had to be at the level which would make the body hold the shot and help it to work.
So, before the shot could be given, blood had to be drawn and tested.
Result of blood work?
Rick's iron was low - no surprise. Considering the Anemia
However, his iron store was low - too low.
Dr. Cochran said that with the numbers being what they are - that the shot would not work.
(Info on iron in the body - Iron deficiency, from the CDC, and from Mayo Clinic)
So, he is putting Rick on iron therapy for one month to start. 50 mg of iron 3 times a day for a month.
More blood work. See what his iron level is, what the iron stores are. Then, at that time, will discuss the shot again.
Dr. Cochran said that he thought maybe Rick had a good chance of recovery. :-)
He said that it could take as long as 6 months to see a good recovery in the iron stores, though. So just be prepared for that.
Rick's blood count last Wednesday at Dr. Arneke's office was 8.3 - Dr. Arneke said that at 8.0 or below is when he would be re-admitted to the hospital for more units of blood.
Monday at Dr. Cochran's office - his blood count was at 8.7!!! Praise the Lord!!! :-)
Rick worked on Tuesday - went to Shreveport. He called me yesterday afternoon and said that he had a voicemail from Dr. Destarac's office (the pulmonologist). PET scan today in Tyler.
When Rick was in the hospital - chest X-rays were done, because he had a cough that sounded deep seated. (Which is why we had gone to the doctor on January 10 ...)
Nothing was shown to be in the lungs. However, there was "something" showing in the center of his chest. Dr said first that he thought it might have something to do with his heart - because of the high potassium numbers.
Dr. Arneke had a heart monitor placed on Rick, ordered an EKG, and a CT scan.
Heart monitor showed normal and stable ... EKG showed normal and stable.
CT scan showed that the lymph nodes in the center of his chest were swollen to a 1 cm. ??? Not just one lymph node, but several.
Dr. Arneke said that there were 2 types of cancer that showed up like this. Cancer tests were done - both were negative! Praise God!!!
He said he didn't know what would cause the lymph nodes to swell.
So, he referred Rick to a pulmonologist - Dr. Destarac.
When we went to his office and saw him, he looked at Rick's X-rays and CT scan.
Said that he had seen a lot of cancers in this area of the body, but this did NOT look like cancer to him.
Wasn't sure what it was.
Told us that he would like to get Rick in for a PET scan - just to rule out cancer, as well as to get a good picture (short of a biopsy) of what is going on there.
After 2 weeks of his office and Rick's insurance him-hawing around ... authorization was given this week, appointment was made, and we are going to Tyler today.
Rick can eat a couple of eggs this morning before 6 - meaning I have to get off here! LOL
Then, only water until after the PET scan.
I know that the 2 hours he is back for the PET scan will be 2 of the longest and hardest hours in this journey so far for me!!! Sigh.
Melanie (at Dr. Destarac's office) said that I could wait 3 days and then call her for the results of the PET scan.
Rick has an appointment to see Dr. Destarac on February 15 to discuss the findings of the PET scan.
Please - pray for Rick.
Healing. GOOD reports.