Monday, December 31, 2012

Hoping for a Rockin' 2013!

Twenty twelve has stunk, and we're happy to bid farewell to it.   Here's where things are right now:

Chris' health:
 - He just passed his one-year anniversary on dialysis.  The arduous routine is getting on his nerves.  With any luck at all, next NYE can be spent without worrying about the machine.
 - He met with a pain specialist to see if there could be improvements made in his quality of life and give him some relief from the back pain, leg cramp pain, post-surgical chest pain, etc.  He started physical therapy and has been to three sessions so far.
 - We're dealing with a lot of stress, so Chris has started seeing a counselor weekly to help him deal with the medical issues, treatments, appointments, loss of freedom, etc.   At his session today, he said his counselor felt like he was sinking deeper into the depression.  This may be a seasonal thing, or it could be related to a recent medication adjustment.   He's going to talk to the medication manager next time he sees her to see if they need to be readjusted.
 - Just when it seemed like one more thing might send one or both of us over the edge, we noticed that Chris had a mole on his abdomen that looked suspicious.  A dermatologist agreed and removed it.   He called Chris back to have the "margin" (some additional normal-looking skin surrounding the mole) removed.  Removing the margin maximizes the chance that all the bad cells will be removed.   He's getting his stitches removed from the margin excision this week.
- Chris was active on the kidney transplant list for about 48 hours before he got an infection near the site of his dialysis tube.  After three rounds of oral antibiotics and an infusion, it does not seem to have subsided.
- He still has some dental work to get done.  Hoping to be able to afford that soon.
- We're wondering if he hit the million dollar mark for medical this year.   It'll be February or so before the final 2012 numbers come in, and we'll keep you posted.

Kim's health:
- A1C sugar was 6.7 on October 1.  This is lower than the 7.0 threshold for diabetic medication (Yeay!).  She's occasionally wishing she had a Coke in-hand, but is drinking water like it's going out of style.  In the last two weeks, she's been indulging in some holiday candy... but is hopeful that her next A1C test on Dec. 3rd will be OK.
- She has been spending some more time doing her rubber stamping hobby in an attempt to relieve some stress and be among friends.
-  Kim is experiencing some of the side-effects of the diabetes which include joint pain (in the knees), tingling & numbness (in the legs for her), and fatigue.
- Her depression isn't doing very well.  Personal care is still an issue, as she tends to focus on Chris' needs.  She has started a weekly therapy session, too, and her counselor is using EMDR methods.  Her counselor brought up that Kim is displaying a large number of symptoms of PTSD, and that traumatic events have overwhelmed her usual cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms.  (Yes, they have.  They are.  They do.)  Hopefully this treatment and the two antidepressants she's on will help with that.
- Eyes are a big issue with diabetes, and her doctor sent her for a thorough eye exam.  The prescription has changed a bit and Kim has been squinting a lot, so we're checking around for good deals on a new pair of glasses.  It's been 5 or more years since she got new ones, so it's time.
- She has dental work to get done, too.  Because Chris' is needed for his transplant, he'll go first.

Digit is aging and we're worried.
- Her fur was getting matted, and we were able to remove the mats.  Some by shave, others by scissors.
- She looks skinnier.   Maybe partially because of the shorter fur, but she's definitely losing weight.   We've been giving her chunky wet food in addition to the dry food we leave out for them.   She's eating it.

So this week is a busy one -- we have SEVEN doctor appointments to be squeezed into the four business days this week.   Here's hoping for a great 2013!