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Tomato, tomahto, pneumonitis, pneumonia

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in My Health Updates - 10 Comments
bad spellers

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.

  • LaNeia

    Best of wishes to Chris as he starts on Votrient. Carlos is in his second week of Votrient and so far, no problems. Fingers crossed, it actually helps for both of our husbands. All the best to you both.

  • Debbie king

    Amen for the cure! But until then just wanted you to know I’ve been on votrient for 19 months with very slight se and stable !!

  • Bonnie

    And you and Chris are loved so much, Dena!! You are a gift to so many people. If possible,I would like to speak with you on the telephone at some point. Just ask Brian for my number and I look forward to that. Love and prayers, Bonnie

  • http://twitter.com/pamelajean43 Pamela Jean

    I have to admit, I have been getting that ‘pit in the bottom of my stomach’ the past couple of posts. Though, it’s amazing to read about Chris’s kidney cancer journey and the fact that he has managed to battle it for such a long time. Reading about all the terrible side effects is heart breaking, but the both of you never seem to lose your sense of humor through it all. It was the same when my younger brother was diagnosed with kidney cancer, we never seemed to lost our sense of humor, though we did add in a few bursts of rage here and there to mix it up. Thinking of you all—-Pam from Maine

  • Mary topper

    I read each of your blog posts, I am a nurse so pretty familiar with medico–linguistics but I learn the human linguistics quite clearly in your writings. I share your journey and emotions related within your blog. Happy Thanksgiving, I am grateful to know you through your writings–it sure ain’t easy living with cancer!

  • Jkirby

    So glad Chris got through the pneumonitis. Dr. Hammers got me through that in February and had the joy of steroids for about 3 months after that but it did clear up. Dena and Chris are an inspiration to all of us with Kidney cancer. Keep fighting!!

  • Minnie

    I love the image you posted. And yes, I did look up the meaning of pneumo-what-ever, because it sounded real and frightening!
    Hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving, that the pneumonia clears up and the Votrient is your miracle.
    By the way does anybody know how the names of medicines are chosen? Votrient appears random and sounds like a minor god in Norse mythology! Surely there must be a reason for the many odd names that become household words when you are confronted with a disease you certainly don’t want?!

  • Margo in Florida

    Wishing the Battle family a beautiful Thanksgiving! Praying hard that this antibiotic will clear up Chris’s pneumonia, that Votrient will successfully battle his cancer but be gentle on his body, and that we’ll all be blessed with our miracle cure in the very near future. You are an inspiration!!!!.

  • Pat Yovich

    Hi Chris, Dena, and kids…..You all continue to be in our prayers and special intentions for God’s invervention and special healings! Is it a very specail time of year and God has seen to it that you will all Share and have a Wonderful Thanksgiving! Prayers are for mom and dad in Pooler, too! God Bless you all! (and get this “Big C” gone) Happy Thanksgiving! Pat and Alan, Pooler

  • Claire

    I’ve become addicted to this blog and check it frequently in the hopes of reading a new piece! Glad to hear that Votrient is on the horizon. I tell myself that 30% of patients respond to this and 20% to this other thing, so eventually we’ll find the one that my Dad responds to. I hope this is yours, Chris!

    We had hoped to meet you guys at Hopkins this past summer during IL-2, but he wasn’t in the 10% for that one, so it’s on to the next for us, as well. Next stop Loma Linda for a clinical trial in proton therapy.

    Thank you both for sharing your story. You are not alone in this awful battle and, thanks to your blog, we feel like we’re part of a very courageous community. I’ll keep checking back in the hopes that Votrient brings good news and, (hopefully), fewer side effects.

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