Tomato, tomahto, pneumonitis, pneumonia
Following the last blog post, we got a lot of concerned messages. So many of you reached out, posted comments and sent email messages. I know that it wasn’t an easy post to read. Especially the part about pneumonitis.
After all, pneumonitis is confusing. It’s hard to spell. It’s hard to pronounce. And it’s hard to figure out just what the heck it is. Even after the doctor explained it to us, Chris and I had to google it. Chris thought it was pig Latin for pneumonia. Many of you agreed. (Well, sans the pig Latin. Chris always has interesting ways of confusing himself.) Indeed some of you were even kind enough to let us know that we had – repeatedly – put a typo in the post and misspelled pneumonia.
Honestly, Chris and I felt bad about all the confusion. I mean, the blog post was kind of an emotional topic – and then on top of it all we get everybody scratching their heads and muttering that Chris is perhaps the worst speller in the history of bad spellers. I mean, how many times can you type pneumonitis when you meant to type pneumonia? Well, that was just plain wrong, and we want to make it up to you.
So, dear reader, we have a gift. At yesterday’s appointment with our oncologist, we were a little concerned that the pneumonitis hadn’t been resolved. Dr. Hammers assured us that it had largely cleared up. However … the scan revealed a new problem – an infection in the lung. In medical terms: pneumonia – not to be confused with pneumonitis.
For everyone that we perplexed, Chris made a gracious decision to trade in his pneumonitis in exchange for pneumonia. You’re welcome. Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and Chris is nothing, if not a giver.
The development of pneumonia is a little disconcerting since Chris had already been treated with antibiotics for the pneumonitis. That point of that was to prevent a lung infection. Easier said than done, though. It’s hard to culture a lung infection. (It involves either anesthesia and long scope or a lot of bourbon and a wire hanger.) So choosing which antibiotic to use is kind of like throwing a dart at a dartboard. Unfortunately, we missed the board.
Now the dart has been thrown again and we’re trying a new antibiotic – one that is pronounced something like MoxiFloxiCycin (which frankly sounds like an illegal narcotic for tooth fairies). We’re hoping it clears up the lung tissue or at least grows Chris a pair of wings. (Admit it, that would be cool).
Once we get the infection cleared up, we’ll likely start a new cancer drug called Votrient. Don’t worry – it has fun aspects (toxic liver side effects, etc.), but we’ll save that for the next post.
As we were leaving the radiology department at Hopkins, a kind woman came up to introduce herself to Chris – a fellow caregiver whose husband has kidney cancer and is a fellow patient of Dr. Hammers. It seems that every trip we’ve made to Johns Hopkins lately has resulted in a fellow cancer patient who approaches and says that he or she reads Chris’s blog. It’s so humbling, and it feels good to know that the blog may, in its own small way, be helping others. (How many of us now know the difference between pneumonitis and pneumonia, for instance? Or at least the correct spelling.) It’s is so uplifting on our part to meet so many wonderful people who are on this journey with us. We wish they weren’t — but nonetheless, we’re grateful to be able to spend some time with them. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, we’re thankful for the wonderful people who support and love us and who have done so much to help us through this struggle. We’re thankful for the overwhelming number of prayers coming our way. We’re thankful for or girls and our family. And, as always, we’re hopeful — hopeful to find a drug that will give Chris relief and hopeful for a cure that will be a miracle for all kidney cancer patients.