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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Day +115 Counts Up, Groshong To Go

In the last 9 days I have good progress to report.

At Tuesday's appointment, my doctor said I could cut my immune suppressant drug Tacrolimus in half, to 2 Mg per day. I'm now down to 25% of what I was taking at day +28. The dr. is now scheduling appointments at 2 week intervals. So I went from biweekly to semiweekly appointments in the span of a couple weeks.

Oxygen Up
My blood counts have shown rapid progress since eliminating Septra and Maribavir in April. My Hemoglobin has reached 98% of normal. This has me thinking about testing out my stamina by trying to actually jog a bit on my next walk. In the last 3 years I could not run more than 50 yards without getting completely out of breath.

Groshong Eulogy
This coming Wednesday I have an appointment to get my central line catheter removed. The device has been hanging out of my chest since December 28 and has served me very well. It allowed direct and immediate access to my vascular system during and just after my transplant. Lately, however, it has gone unused. It has always been a source of annoyance and occasional itching. All in all it was a good friend, but I am not sorry to see it go. For the curious of you, below I have provided more information about the Groshong port and a picture of my install. It is a truly amazing recent invention that contributes to the increased odds of transplant success.

Thank you all for your continuing kind and supportive thoughts, prayers and wishes. It is totally impossible for me to imagine getting to this place in my life, and our lives here, without all of your help. Cathie continues to be a champ supporting our family while I am recovering. In a couple short months, I hope to be a productive member of society again! My doctors support that notion.

The Groshong Central Venous Catheter
A brochure on the Groshong:
The end of the Groshong is a rounded dead-end. Just above the dead end in each of the 2 channels of the dual Groshong is a short slit. The slit is forced open outward when fluid is infused into the line, disgorging the fluid into the vein. The slit is forced open inward when a vacuum is applied to the line. This is how they draw blood samples. When there is no pressure in or out, the slit remains closed. Before I knew all this I pictured the catheter as an open tube that is just sitting above my heart. I imagined that if the catheter was accidentally cut open it would result in a blood geyser, a big mess. It turns out that this is not the case. Knowledge is a big help in combating an over-active imagination.

My Groshong port installation:
Note: This picture of my chest is provided for the educational value of displaying an installed Groshong Port. Please click the link only if you are not offended by bare male chests. Also, I'd appreciate not finding the picture featured at I am, however, available for your private bachelorette and birthday parties. ;-)
Anyway... I have edited the picture to show the part of the catheter that is hidden under the skin. After it disappears into my chest it is tunneled up to and enters my jugular vein. From there it does a 150 degree turn downwards to a place where the jugular meets the Superior Vena Cava, just above the heart. When they remove the Groshong next Wed there is no sedation, they just slide it out. Gulp. Imagination, be still.


Anonymous said...

Wow... What good news. It was so nice to talk to you today on the phone, we cant wait to see you this summer. I am so so happy things have gone well. We are all so blessed to have you in our lives. LOVE YA LOTS
Derek, Shelli and Parker

Anonymous said...

Wow, look at your numbers!!!! The hgb looks great. I know they were always the biggest problem for you. 13.7! I can only imagine what that must feel like....!!! You are doing awesome..... God really does listens to prayers...

SoftwareEngineer said...

Pretty cool medical device. Very cool blood count stats. Let us know how the stamina tests go for you.

Mike B said...


So glad to hear about your fantastic progress. Drugs down, numbers up. Looks like things are getting better and better and just in time for summer!

Good luck with your Groshong port removal. I am sure it will go well but even with your descriptions it does give me a pause--though I am sure it is nothing compared to what you have already been through.

Mike B

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